With July and August traditionally being the hottest months of the year, the American Academy of Pediatrics offers these tips for keeping your kids — and yourself — cool:

  • Find an air-conditioned space. If your home does not have air-conditioning, find a nearby building that does. Libraries can be a great place for a cool retreat from the heat. If you live in a place where the air-conditioning is unpredictable, plan in advance for a safe place for you and your family to go during times when the temperatures are high.
  • Stay hydrated. Encourage your children to drink water regularly and have it readily available—even before they ask for it. On hot days, infants receiving breast milk in a bottle can be given additional breast milk in a bottle, but they should not be given water—especially in the first six months of life. Infants receiving formula can be given additional formula in a bottle.
  • Dress lightly. Dress your children in clothing that is light-colored, lightweight, and limited to one layer of absorbent material that will maximize the evaporation of sweat. Kids have a lower capacity for sweating than adults.
  • Plan for extra rest time. Heat can often make children (and their parents) feel tired.
  • Cool off. When your child is feeling hot, give them a cool bath or water mist to cool down. Swimming is another great way to cool off while staying active.
  • Prevent the effects of sun exposure.
  • Ask about policies. Talk to your child’s caregiver, camp, coach or child care provider about their policies for protecting your children throughout the day—especially during outdoor play or exercise. ​

 

I would add that being aware of the weather forecast as well as the prevailing (real time) weather conditions can really help parents determine when it’s safe for their kids to be playing outside. The AAP reminds all of us that it’s dangerous to play outside when the National Weather Service identifies a heat index of 90°F or higher, making mornings and evenings typically the safest times for outdoor activities in the summer. We also shouldn’t forget that as temperatures rise, air quality deteriorates and health can suffer as a result. Parents can follow local air quality reports daily — online by checking Pediatric Alliance’s website, on mobile devices with the American Lung Association’s State of the Air app (available at Apple’s iTunes Store and Google Play (Android) Store), and delivered daily to your inbox (sign up at www.airnow.gov). Keep in mind that the principles of ambient temperatures, humidity, and air quality apply wherever you are, so these tools are portable when you travel.

A car left out in the hot sun can literally become an oven in a very short period of time. The  AAP and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn parents never to leave children in cars:

Cars can quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures, even with a window cracked open. While anyone left in a parked car is at risk, children are especially at risk of getting a heat stroke or dying. When traveling with children, remember to do the following:

  • Never leave infants, children or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked ope
  • To remind yourself that a child is in the car, keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When the child is buckled in, place the stuffed animal in the front with the driver
  • When leaving your car, check to be sure everyone is out of the car. Do not overlook any children who have fallen asleep in the car.

 

One more thing to remember as the mercury climbs: Pets need to be kept cool and hydrated as well.

 

(Google Images)