As the last cool days of spring melt into the inevitable “dog days” of summer, we get to rediscover the excitement of long days, refreshingly cool evenings, catching lightning bugs, and stargazing. Along with the fun that the summer sun brings, day and night time temperatures can quickly climb to levels that are hard for little bodies to tolerate. Sleep patterns can be disrupted as temperatures reach heights that are well beyond optimum for sleeping children (between 68° and 72°F).
Below are a few ways to keep those high temperatures from ruining your summer fun.
Make plans to cool a child’s room before nap or bedtime
Keeping shades and curtains closed during the day can make a huge difference in the climate of the room. (Blackout curtains are great!) Replacing heavy sleepers with loose, light sheets also helps. For homes without the benefit of air conditioning, pedestal fans come in handy, but remember not to aim a fan directly at a sleeping child. If nights are cooler than days, open windows are a must. Be sure your child’s window has a screen before you leave it open all night long. If cooling the home is simply not an option, consider a sleepover at a relative or friend’s house.
Avoid the Car
Cars turn into ovens when temperatures are higher than 80° outside. A child who falls asleep on a long drive is much more at risk for being forgotten or left sleeping in the car “just for a quick moment to run an errand.” Because a car can heat to dangerous levels within moments, it is crucial to be proactive when traveling with kids on hot days. One tip is to leave something important, like your wallet, purse, or even your phone, in the back seat. This will help ensure that you never forget a sleeping child in the car.
Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate
Did you know that young children’s bodies contain higher water percentages than adults? This means that excessive temperatures can quickly put active children at risk of dehydration. Children who are playing hard should stop for a drink of water or sports-type electrolyte drink at least once every twenty minutes or so. Water bottles are your best friend this summer!
With a little extra attention to detail, the excitement of summertime fun and the inevitable heat that comes along with it can be enjoyed safely by even the littlest members of your family.