The boys are in a great summer program that keeps them busy with a variety of activities. Every Tuesday is beach day. Today they hopped on the Metro Transit and headed to Chocolate Lake.
Much to ET’s dismay, this is not Halifax’s Chocolate lake.
It was a great day for them to be at the beach because it was another scorcher and, as always in Nova Scotia, it was a humid heat. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining — our summer is far too short to waste a moment complaining about the weather.
Every year, these hot days seem to catch me by surprise. We will be in the doldrums of a rainy spring and then POW it’s summer. Maybe it’s because we don’t get eased into the heat that it is such a shock to the system.
On days like today, I worry about my kids.
Last week on beach day, I picked them up to discover that ET had only drunk a quarter of his water. It was his first beach outing with the group and he had just been having too much fun to stop and take breaks. I needed a drink after the lecture I gave him!
Also on Tuesdays, after a day spent at the hot beach, it’s soccer evening. We have a quick picnic and then it’s right onto the field for practice — the day is still really hot.
I spend a lot of time on the sidelines looking for signs of heat exhaustion.
When I was working as a tennis umpire, I saw a lot of heat illness. Players would cramp and vomit, ball kids would crumple into a heap and I even had to call the medics a few times for a spectator in the stands. The heat sneaks up on you, and it’s even faster for kids.
It’s hard to believe sometimes to look at them, but kids sweat less than adults. This means they have less ability to get rid of heat by evaporation. And, most importantly, they’re stupid. They don’t have enough common sense to know that a hot day would be better spend lying in the shade with book and a glass of cold lemonade.
Just a friendly reminder to keep a close eye on your kids. Remind them to drink water every 15 minutes even if they aren’t thirsty. Encourage them to take breaks in the shade and to douse themselves with water. And, as I ALWAYS seem to be saying, put those hats on!
If your child is hot but stops sweating, is confused, vomits, has a severe headache or difficulty breathing it may be heat stoke. Heat stroke is a life-threatening medical emergency. Try to cool them down and get immediate medical care.