Summer offers many opportunities for children to go outside and play. However, it’s important to remember the risks of playing out in the sun.
Once the warmer weather arrives, the body expends energy to maintain a body temperature of 37°C. One of the ways the body keeps cool is through perspiration. The hotter it is outside, the more water the body will lose by sweating. Therefore, it is important to take frequent water breaks to prevent dehydration.
Heat exhaustion occurs when the body loses too much water and minerals from perspiration while trying to cool down. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include: head ache, nausea, muscle cramping, dizziness, and an increased heart rate. To prevent heat exhaustion, seek out cool and shady areas to rest and remember to stay well hydrated.
A more commonly known risk in summertime is sunburns, which occur when the sun’s rays burn the skin cells. We must therefore stay alert, because even if it doesn’t feel hot, it does not mean that UV rays are blocked. It is therefore important to protect at all times from these rays.
Here are some tips to avoid the negative effects of exposure to sun and heat:
- Use a good sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF). The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends an SPF of at least 30. Remember to apply on nose, ears and the back the neck of your child at least 30 minutes before going outdoors and after swimming.
- Wear a hat or cap.
- Encourage children to go play in the water to stay cool.
- Drink water regularly.
- Wear sunglasses that protect against UV rays.
- Keep as much as possible in the shade or in a cool (especially between 10 am and 2 pm).