It’s a well-known fact that summer is the most risky season of year for three highly overlooked afflictions: dehydration, heat stroke, and sunburn. These conditions, especially the first two, are extremely dangerous and lead to thousands of hospitalizations every year. Moms beware — do not underestimate the dangers of July and August heat.
Your kids will likely be out all day, running, swimming, and enjoying the great outdoors. This leaves them exposed to the sun for long hours, making it almost certain that without proper liquids, nutrients, sunscreen and shade they will suffer from one (if not all) of the aforementioned conditions. Consider the following precautions:
Make Hydration a Regimen
Like brushing your teeth and combing your hair, drinking water should be a habit during the summer. Most people don’t drink enough water anyway. Compounded with the heat and freedom from school, it’s very easy for kids to push themselves too hard and risk severe dehydration and heat stroke.
Talk to your kids about the importance of breaking often to consume non-soda fluids. Equipping them with some kind of Camelback hydration pack might be a good idea too. You also may need to incentivize hydration by flavoring the water—and sneaking in electrolytes, which are important for replacing nutrients lost in sweat.
Consider Buying a Pool
Above ground pools will not only keep your kids at home, where you can keep an eye on them and make sure they’re being safe, they offer a relatively safe form of exercise. If you go this route you should set a few rules: no swimming during the peak hours (which is basically from 10 AM to 4 PM); no bullying or dangerous horseplay; and reapply sunscreen every hour or so.
Kids love playing in water during the summer. Investing in your own above ground pool may end up saving you money in the long run, as your kids won’t pester you for community pool memberships or visits to pricey water parks.
Promote Healthy Eating Habits
Nothing weakens the body more and leaves it more vulnerable to illness than a bad diet. During the summer, it’s critically important to consume plenty of fruits and vegetables. These are good for you at any time, but during the summer they help to replace fluids and provide necessary vitamins and minerals.
Prepare healthy snacks for your kids like sliced apples and peanut butter, juicy peaches, or broccoli and ranch dressing. Watermelon’s also a popular summertime fruit that is full of Vitamin C and excellent for hydration.
The summer is one of the most exciting, liberating times of year for children. This is when they engage in some of their most memorable adventures. But it’s also a potentially dangerous three months, when the twin threats of UV rays and excessive heat can cause dehydration, heat stroke and sun burn. It’s important to look closely at your options for managing your kids’ summertime activities, and come up with a game plan that will be both safe and fun.