Beat the Heat! Summertime Safety for Children 101
Summer is finally here! Your whole family has been waiting for those sunny days to finally spend some quality outdoor time together. Having fun in outdoor playhouses, going to beaches, festivals, and much more. However, summers can be very hot. And that can be dangerous, especially for kids whom are busy playing and having fun.
However, it is not a reason to deprive your family of all the summertime outdoors joys that we have been waiting for so long. Kids playhouses, swings, playgrounds are welcoming us back. Observing some fundamental heat safety tips and educating your children about dangers and protection from overheating will help you enjoy the happiest time of the year with minimal risks.
Is it hot outside?
Before talking about the risks and dangers of overheating, let`s clarify which temperatures you may consider extreme and why. You might have noticed that the same 86F may feel differently abroad or even when you visit another part of the country.
Another interesting phenomenon you might have noticed is that 59F in fall may feel cold. But in spring, you may feel pretty comfortable outside at the same temperature.
And of course, there are always those people who say that they know natural heat, and therefore your 86F is a pretty habitual and even comfortable temperature for them.
Indeed we may feel the same temperatures differently in different parts of the world or even throughout the year. It happens due to several factors:
- Our bodies can adapt to current temperatures, slowing down or boosting up blood pressure and metabolism to survive in current conditions. That is why we may consider the same temperature cold and comfortable depending on the current season;
- The way we feel temperature does not entirely depend on what the thermometer tells. The humidity level is one of the crucial factors that determine how you will feel outdoors today. The higher the humidity is, the more extreme the temperatures become. For example, the standard summer 86F would feel like a pretty harsh 97F in a 75% humidity;
- The landscape also plays an essential role in climate changes and peculiarities. Once you live on mountain terrain or next to a desert, summer heat will affect you differently than next to the seashore.
Raising humidity levels make temperatures feel more extreme. A Humidity-Heat Index calculator can help you determine what the weather outside really feels like and whether it is safe to let your kids play in the wooden playhouse in the backyard today at all.
The potential danger of extreme heat in the summer
Extreme heat can cause numerous health complications and even be fatal even for a healthy grown-up person. Not to mention the delicate growing kid's body.
Extreme heat can cause two acute syndromes:
- Heat exhaustion;
- Heat stroke.
They both have pretty severe symptoms and require immediate attention and treatment.
Heat Exhaustion. Here are the main symptoms of heat exhaustion:
- Cold, pale, clammy skin;
- Weak rapid pulse;
- Nausea and/or vomiting;
- Muscle cramps;
- Heavy sweating.
If you notice any of those symptoms in you or your children, make sure to get to an air-conditioned place as soon as possible, dip into the cool water, take a cool shower, and drink a lot.
Heat Stroke. It is a much more critical syndrome that requires immediate qualified medical help. Here are the main symptoms of a heat stroke:
- Hot, red, and dry skin;
- Rapid, strong pulse;
- Nausea and/or vomiting;
- Throbbing headache;
- No sweating.
If any of those symptoms occur, you should make everything possible to cool off immediately and call 911.
"When the weather is hot, keep a cool mind. When the weather is cold, keep a warm heart.”
Is it safe to play in an outdoor playhouse in the summer?
All those symptoms are pretty severe and even scary. Does it mean that it is not safe for our children to play outdoors in your wooden playhouse anymore?
Summertime outdoors activities are extremely important for children. Despite being fun, it helps them reload their immunity and mental systems before the new school year, develop social skills and have some bonding time with parents and siblings. Therefore, by locking your children at home this summer, you will do more long-term harm than any heatwave could.
Providing your kids with a safe outdoor space like a wooden playhouse and educating them about the dangers and protection from extreme heat will guarantee that your whole family will enjoy this summer thoroughly.
Summertime safety tips
There are several steps you may take to keep your children safe this summer. Most of those steps are pretty fun and can become a part of the bonding outdoor experience for the whole family.
Get an Outdoor Playhouse
Getting your kids an outdoor playhouse is a great way to provide them a safe, covered outdoor space. However, it is essential to make sure that the kids playhouse itself is designed and manufactured according to safety standards:
- It has several passages and ventilation openings such as doors, windows, or skylights ;
- It is made out of natural, non-toxic materials;
- It is colored with bright, water-based colors.
Extreme heat can cause various chemicals and toxins to evaporate from the materials and paints of a low-quality wooden playhouse. If it does not have enough ventilation openings, it can cause severe respiratory poisoning. The color pattern of your kids playhouse is also important. Dark colors accumulate UV lights causing the surface to warm up much faster and up to extreme temperatures. You might have experienced this effect yourself if you have left a dark-colored car in an open-air parking lot. To take the best care of your and our kids, WholeWoodPlayhouses produces its playhouses only from high quality water-based colors, ensuring safety and most of our outdoor playhouses are with white roofs, ensuring a wide range of suitable kids playhouses for hot climates.
Keep hydrated in the summer heat
Any healthcare expert will tell you that staying hydrated is the key to prevent overheating successfully. However, despite what numerous websites or mobile apps tell you, there is no universal standard of how much water you and your children should drink to keep safe in the summer. The hydration level depends on body mass, activity level, the current temperature, as well as certain health conditions and individual physiology. That is why the notorious 8x8 rule appears to be pretty dangerous for certain people causing calcium loss, kidney failure, and some other complications.
Here are several tips that will help you and your children stay healthily hydrated this summer:
Know dehydration symptoms
Signs of dehydration are pretty common both for children and grown-ups:
- Fatigue and/or fainting;
- Dry mouth;
- Irritated, dry, and itchy skin;
- Dark urine
A soon as you notice any of those symptoms, make sure to take a break and drink plenty of water. Make sure to place a jar of water or lemonade in your kids playhouse. Once again, there are no direct recommendations of how much you should drink precisely. Start with one glass of water and check how you feel.
Avoid soda and caffeine drinks
Not only do such drinks contain loads of sugar, but some of their ingredients act as absorbents, dehydrating you even more. In other words, they soak water from your tissues instead of enriching your body with moisture.
Clean, cool water is the best summer drink. However, if your children are not too enthusiastic about plain water, you can prepare some herbal or fruit-infused water popsicles or aloe and cucumber-based homemade drinks. Those alternatives are tasty and fun to prepare together with children.
Healthy summer snacks
At least 20% of our water intake comes from the food we eat. If you want to stay safely hydrated this summer, lay Doritos and potato chips away and introduce some veggies to your diet. It can be a great idea to arrange a small garden around your outdoor playhouse to let children grow their own veggies.
Cucumber, celery, tomatoes, and bell pepper are full of water and will help you overcome food cravings and stay hydrated this summer. The wooden playhouse is the perfect place for a snack break on your own lemonade stand or snack shop. And of course, don`t forget about the watermelon – the ultimate summer delicacy that up to 90% consists of water.
Water outdoor games
Staying hydrated does not only mean drinking a lot of water. Water protects us from overheating both from inside and outside. Various outdoor water games are not only fun but can keep you and your children perfectly hydrated even if you don`t have a swimming pool.
Sponge fights, water guns, water battles to defeat kids playhouses, and all kinds of water-based outdoor games are the most fun and healthy outdoor summer activities. Even the routine flower watering around an outdoor playhouse garden, can easily turn into an exciting bonding game for the whole family.
We have been waiting for this summer for far too long to deprive ourselves of all the fun outdoor activities, playgrounds, swings and kids playhouses. However, it is our responsibility to keep safe and teach our children some basic rules that will prevent overheating, sunburns, and other dangerous impacts of climate change and extreme temperatures.
So grab a bottle of water and veggie snacks, put on your sunscreen and go, have fun in your backyard wooden playhouse with your kids. And don`t forget your water gun, of course!
""If you're not barefoot, then you're overdressed."
Written by WholeWoodPlayhouses