Summer and the warmer weather make us all think of fun in the sun, but it is also a time of year that can be dangerous. Long, hot days in the sun can bring about concerns like dehydration, superficial burns, sunburn and heat stress.
Staying sun smart and keeping children safe in summer means you can enjoy the sunshine and minimise risk.
Working in child care in the heat means taking a few extra precautions to ensure they can enjoy the warmth while staying safe and healthy.
These five tips can help early childhood educators to deliver the best care during the heat while keeping children safe in summer:
- Stay hydrated
Hydration may seem obvious, but when children are busy playing regular sips of water can be forgotten. Ensure a water bottle or cup of fresh, cool water is always within children’s reach during the heat. Make time for regular drink breaks to be completely certain each child is drinking adequate fluid in the heat.
- Don’t overdress
Children often won’t be bothered by discomfort as much we adults are. If a child has a jumper on or extra layers they may not realise they are overheating. And even if they do, they may not think to remove a layer. Keep an eye on children’s clothing during the hot months and aim for natural fabrics like cotton as it breathes.
- Stay cool
We all know how much children love their outdoor time, but sometimes it is simply too hot. On days of extreme heat, aim to keep children entertained indoors or at the very least keep the outdoor play in the shade. The cool mist from spray bottles is a novel way to cool children down, in addition to air conditioning or fans.
- Eat smaller meals
The heat can reduce appetite, but aiming for smaller meals more often is a good tactic to make sure children eat enough over the course of the day. Lots of cool fruits and vegetables are easy and desirable in the hot weather.
- Don’t forget to slip, slop slap!
The classic slip slop slap – it’s a surefire way to make sure children are protected from the sun. Make it a well-known part of your centres’ policies in the warmer months that all children are to adhere to it. In case you don’t know it well, the idea is to slip on a shirt (keeping the shoulders and body protected from the sun), slop on some high SPF sunscreen and slip on a hat (preferably a wide brim option or a legionnaires cap to keep the neck covered).
To help everyone remember how to stay safe in the sun, simply sing a song with your children. Click on the link below to download the Bonkers Beat transitional song – Slip, Slop, Slap.
If you have some great summer tips for keeping children safe in summer, share with us on Facebook!