Playing outdoors strengthens gross motor skills and helps children develop an appreciation for nature. Here are some recommendations for keeping children safe from the heat and sun:
- Sunscreen – Follow all state regulations for the storage, permission, and application of sunscreen. Experts recommend the use of sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Apply sunscreen to all areas of exposed skin, avoiding the eyes and mouth. Rub sunscreen in completely. Follow the instructions for proper application and reapplication, which typically recommend sunscreen be applied 30 minutes prior to sun exposure.
- Clothing and hats – Encourage families to provide hats or other pieces of clothing that can protect children’s skin from the sun. Hats should have wide brims that protect the face as well as the back of the neck. Children can also wear sunglasses that protect their eyes from UV rays.
- Avoiding midday sun – Limit sun exposure between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM, whenever possible.
- Follow local advisories for extreme heat and adjust your outdoor plans accordingly. Plan ahead for an indoor location for gross motor activities on days when outdoor play is not possible.
- Adapt outdoor activities – Shorten outdoor play periods or activities children explore during outdoor time. Provide activities that are low to medium intensity, such as reading books or setting up a puppet theater under a tree.
- Well-planned transitions – Build time into transitions for the outdoors for children to rehydrate, wash their hands, apply a cool paper towel to their forehead, and generally cool down from being outdoors.
- Shade – Whenever possible, provide shade. If permitted, place shade structures/tents in different spots on your playground. For example, set up an art table under one tent and place another tent over the sand/water area. Encourage children to play in the shade often.
- Water – Provide water to drink and encourage children to take frequent water breaks. Avoid sugary drinks.
- Play surfaces – Check the temperature of play surfaces before children use the equipment.
Know the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses – A heat-related illness can occur when a person’s body is unable to cool itself. Here is a list of heat-related illnesses and the signs you should watch for in children and co-workers.
For the main article Summer Safety, CLICK HERE
For the article Keeping Children Safe near Water, CLICK HERE
For the article Keeping Children Safe While Gardening, CLICK HERE
For the article Keeping Children Safe on Walks and Field Trips, CLICK HERE