beattheheatsqAnother summer is heating up. After a long, cold winter, there are few things more welcome than the return of summer. But warm weather also brings outdoor activities that increase heat-related risks, so it can be challenging to determine when staying cool is just an issue of comfort versus when it can be a matter of life and death. Here are some tips on how to stay cool and safe in any weather.

Stay Cool

It can be tough to stay comfortable in the summer, even if you have air conditioning in your home. In many parts of the country, the majority of houses still don’t have air conditioning, which means that things can get pretty miserable during the peak of summer. Help kids beat the heat with a variety of low-tech tricks.

  • Try making ice chalk or ice paints. The secret is to make ice cubes or ice blocks with food coloring, so it will freeze into a solid chunk of color. As the kids “draw” with the ice, it melts and creates colorful drawings. It’s just a bonus that working with the colors will cool them off! (Just make sure they wear something that is easily laundered.)


  • Have a kids’ “car wash.” Set up sprinklers or garden hoses to spray in an arc above the kids’ heads and then send them on their bikes through the water. While you’re at it, enlist the kids to wash your car as well! They may not get the car very clean, but they’ll definitely cool off and have a blast doing it.


  • Water balloon fights are a favorite pastime from when we were kids. While they’re still a lot of fun, sponge bombs can be even more fun and have the bonus that they are reusable. To make a sponge bomb, cut rectangular kitchen sponges (new ones, obviously) in thirds. Tie a total of nine strips together with a hair tie, then poof it out. Soak it all in cold water and voila, you have the perfect, cold projectile that won’t hurt anybody and can be used over and over.


  • Play a version of “Marco Polo” without the pool. Have the kids stand in different places in the yard while one child holds the garden hose with a sprayer attachment. As each kid calls out, the one holding the hose has to spray water in the direction of the sound.


Serious Heat Management

Sometimes heat is more than just uncomfortable. Too much heat for too long can be downright dangerous. Children are at much greater risk of heatstroke than adults, because their smaller bodies mean they get dehydrated more easily.

Heatstroke is so serious that it kills one child every 8 days. Leaving children unattended in cars, which is often an accident that leads to tragic results, can quickly lead to heatstroke death. Never leave kids alone in cars, even for a few minutes. Create reminders for yourself, such as alarms in your phone, if you will be in a position where you could forget the kids in the car, such as after morning drop-offs at daycare.

Student athletes are at particular risk during the summer, when many practices for the fall season begin while summer heat is still at its peak. Depending on the temperatures and humidity levels, you should allow for breaks for cooling and hydration at least once an hour. Kids who are not in peak physical condition should take rest breaks more frequently. Don’t forget to bring along a plenty of ice water for frequent rehydration!

When you take precautions against the risks, summer heat can be a lot of fun. And cooling off makes it even better!