To kids, summer can feel like the best time of year. No school means time to play with friends, go for a swim, or check out some of the great summer activities Tucson has to offer. But summer also brings unique safety concerns for parents. Here are our tips for staying cool, healthy and hydrated this summer:
Staying hydrated in hot weather can be a challenge, especially for kids. According to the UK’s National Hydration Council, children are more vulnerable to dehydration because they don’t always recognize early stages of thirst. Parents Magazine recommends taking breaks for drinks every 20 minutes during outside activities in hot weather. Not sure how much water is enough? The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends 5 cups a day for children ages 4-8, and 7-8 cups a day for children ages 9-13. When exercising, 1/2-2 cups of water to every 20 minutes of exercise is a good goal. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is also essential to staying hydrated.
Sunburns in childhood can lead to skin problems later in life. It’s important to remind kids to wear sunscreen even in cloudy weather and to set a good example. For children under six months old, skip the sunscreen and opt instead for protective clothing, shade, and limited exposure to direct sun. Check out our post on summer skin care for more tips on before, during and after sun care for all ages!
Too much time in the sun can lead not only to dehydration, but also to heat cramps, or more seriously, heat exhaustion. Symptoms of these heat illnesses include headaches, increased thirst, chills and sweats, and a fever. KidsHealth.org recommends treating these symptoms by bringing the child to a cooler place and encouraging them to drink sports drinks with sugar and salt. In extreme cases, contacting a doctor is recommended. Seattle Children’s Hospital advises that kids can be especially susceptible to heat illness at the beginning of the summer, as it takes 8-10 days to adjust to higher temperatures.