How Hot Is Too Hot For Outdoor Play

Summer is officially upon us and the temps are rising.  Most kids just don’t care how hot, cold or rainy it is outside and after a few days stuck inside with them fighting and bickering, you probably won’t care either. In fact, you might even pull a trick that my Mom used to pull on us and lock the screen door behind us, with a cheery “Don’t come back until the street lights come on..”

When the temps rise, so do the precautions we have to take when allowing the tiny humans to play outside or participate in sports.

Hot, dry weather can be extremely dangerous. Because sweat evaporates very quickly in such conditions, your child won’t feel sweaty, and neither you nor your child may recognize how much water he or she has lost.

As the relative humidity increases, the effectiveness of sweating in cooling the body decreases.

When the relative humidity is high, sweat drips off the skin so that the cooling benefit of evaporation is lost even at cooler temperatures, resulting in a build-up of body heat.

How do you know when hot is too hot?

According to Athletic Trainer Brendon McDermott, PhD. at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, ” A kid’s tolerance depends on what they are used to” and advises that you take extra caution during heat waves.

Your child will need to drink lots of extra water, eat balanced meals and go to bed early. If your child isn’t feeling well, keep them out of the heat – it’s harder for the body to stay cool when fighting an infection.

Keep in mind the following tips to keep your kids cool during these hot summer days!

1. Kids won’t stop playing on their own. You must remind them to take a break and drink some water.

2. Avoid sugary beverages. Water is always best!

3. Familiarize yourself with current sunscreen guidelines. Apply and re-apply (and reapply) sunscreen. If a shady option is available for play, try to encourage your kids to play out of the direct sunlight.

4. Try to get out earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon, avoiding the hottest part of the day.

5. Make sure they are wearing the appropriate clothing. We all know how kids like to dress themselves and during a heat wave, layers of winter clothing just won’t cut it.

When playing outside in the heat watch for signs of fatigue, becoming uncomfortable, and limit your outdoor play to just a few minutes at a time. If we are fighting red ozone levels, it’s probably best to change your plans and switch to some fun indoor activities, like these!

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