During a heat wave, or a prolonged period of hot and often humid weather, it can be hard to keep the kids cool and entertained. Since a heat wave can pose a serious health risk to those who are exposed to the scorching temperatures, especially babies and young children, it is essential that parents and caregivers know what to do when the weather dictates that everyone stays cool and takes it easy.
If you’re facing a heat wave, consider these 10 things:
1. Avoid the heat. Stay out of the sun, especially during the hottest parts of the day. If you do venture out, be sure everyone has sunscreen and hats on.
2. Turn on the AC. Air conditioning can be a real lifesaver for those facing a heat wave. If you don’t have air conditioning, fill a pan with ice, put a box fan in front of it, and sit in front of the cool air.
3. Stay hydrated. During a heat wave it is essential that everyone stays adequately hydrated. Be sure to drink and offer lots of water and fruit juice. Adults should avoid anything with caffeine or alcohol, as both are considered diuretics.
4. Wear loose clothing. Light, breathable clothing will help keep you cool during hot and humid weather. Remember, the looser the fabric weave, the less protection it offers from the sun.
5. Shut the windows and draw the shades if it’s hotter outside than it is inside. If it is cooler inside than it is outside, keep it that way by closing the windows and shades. Light colored drapes may be more effective at keeping the heat out than darker or metallic colored ones.
6. Take cool baths or showers. Don’t underestimate the power of a cool bath or shower. A cool bath or shower can offer a refreshing break to the heat.
7. Avoid strenuous activity. Don’t overdo it during a heat wave. During a heat wave, you’ll want to skip yours and the kids exercise routine and keep active outdoor activity to a minimum.
8. Create indoor fun. From playing board games to doing arts and crafts, there are lots of fun things you can do inside with the kids during a heat wave. Older kids may enjoy playing card games and younger kids may enjoy coloring, cutting, and pasting to make their own artful creations. Watching movies together is another way to beat the heat.
9. Eliminate additional sources of heat. Incandescent light bulbs, appliances, and computers can throw off heat. Shut off and unplug all nonessential electronics during a heat wave to minimize the extra heat that is added to the environment. Instead of turning the oven on to cook, opt for simple suppers like cereal, sandwiches, or other items that don’t require using the oven or stove.
10. Head out for cooler fun. If the kids get cabin fever, consider heading out for an indoor adventure. Head to a family movie, go for a walk around the mall, take a swim at an indoor pool, or visit other family-friendly, air conditioned venues for something fun to do.
Whatever you do, be sure that everyone keeps cool and hydrated to avoid heat stroke and other heat related illnesses. Since babies, children, the elderly, and others with preexisting medical conditions are especially vulnerable to heat, be sure to care for them with extra caution during a heat wave.
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