NEW ORLEANS – Can you imagine spending hours playing outside in this heat? It is a challenge thousands of kids are facing this week as temperatures soar across metropolitan New Orleans.
How can parents and caregivers make sure their little campers are educated about the dangers of excessive heat before they head out the door?
Dr. Hudson says parents can teach their children to be aware of what their bodies are telling them. Children should be encouraged to speak up to adult supervisors or camp counselors and tell them when they feel lightheaded, tired, or just need a break.
“Kids can also be good campers and help out other kids or are complaining of not feeling well and may need water,” adds Dr. Hudson. Children should also be reminded of the importance of drinking water, and he encourages kids to help other kids.
“If children see a fellow camper without water, encourage them to drink up.”
The use of sunscreen is always advised, and for younger campers, Dr. Hudson says a parent or caregiver can lather on the lotion before a child leaves home. Remember to put the sunscreen on scalps, arms, legs, shoulders, ears and even in between their toes, depending on their shoe-wear.
Speaking of sunscreen, pool time can be both a relief and a challenge.
“Quite often kids can get dehydrated because they are in the water and don’t notice that they are hot,” says Dr. Hudson. “Taking water breaks during swim lessons or while playing in the pool is just as important as other times during the day.”
Communication is key when it comes to kids and safety, and summer camp fun is no exception.
Camp organizers should be flexible, especially during the hottest part of the day, switching from outdoor activities to indoor fun.
“I encourage parents to talk to camp organizers, ask questions, make sure extra steps are being taken to make sure the kids are being well-hydrated and watched for signs of overheating,” says Dr. Hudson.
Dr. Anthony Hudson is a pediatrician at Lakeside Children’s Clinic, a location of Children’s Pediatrics. After earning his medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Dr. Hudson completed his residency at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans. Dr. Hudson is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics.