Don’t let summer heat spoil your outside fun
Baby, it’s hot outside! And, it’s only getting warmer as we head into July. Whether if your children are home with you all day, or in some type of summer child care, outdoor play is healthy for them. Outdoor time, even when it is hot, cold and rainy, provides kids with a chance to develop and enhance large motor skills, release extra energy in an open environment, and experience change for sensory stimulation.
Child care programs and summer camps should ensure that children of all ages, including babies, have time for playtime outside each day, weather permitting. In Georgia, young children who are in a child care program for more than five hours per day should get a minimum of an hour and a half outside! Infants should receive at least one hour. Programs that are less than five hours are still required to provide the children with outdoor stimulation but for no set amount of time.
Tips to make the most of the outdoors during summer:
- Schedule outdoor time earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon.
- Divide outdoor time into two, or even, three sessions.
- Keep a variety of extra clothes for children in case of water play or if the clothes they wore that day are not appropriate for a hot day.
- Make excursions to play areas or parks with lots of shade.
- Create safe water play activities with water tables, sprinklers and wet pads.
- Have cooling stations setup outside: a fan with water spray, plenty of drinkable water accessible to children, and shade.
- Parents should apply SPF before dropping children off at camp or child care.
- Keep babies out of direct sunlight for long periods.
- Never, ever leave a child unattended in a vehicle even for a few minutes. #LookAgain
- Watch for signs of heat-related illness: Cramps, very high body temperature, rapid pulse, dizziness, extreme headache, nausea/vomiting, athlete not sweating, confusion, paleness, fewer wet diapers for babies, and extreme sweating.
- Use an effective insect repellant while playing outside.
- Check to make sure that playground equipment isn’t too hot to the touch.
- Dress children in loose, lightweight and light-colored clothing.