chicago heat wave

Parents, Caregivers Face Down the Challenge of Keeping Kids Cool During Heat Wave

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Children may be out enjoying their summer vacations, but with a stifling heat wave impacting the Chicago area, many residents are having to take extra steps to keep kids safe.

At Blue Moose Sports Camp in suburban Western Springs, counselors are building in extra water breaks to help keep campers safe.

“It’s 10-to-15 minutes tops, then we get in the shade, get some water and get other drinks,” director Ryan McLaughlin said.

Dr. Bianca Williams, a local pediatrician, says that parents and caregivers must emphasize hydration as often as possible when heat indices soar into the triple digits.

“When they are losing a lot of water from sweat, and from moving around, they need that extra hydration, so I would even kick it up a notch,” she said.

Williams also recommends that residents stick to water and beverages like Pedialyte for hydration purposes, encouraging parents to avoid high-sugar drinks like soda in the stifling heat.

Parents in suburban Orland Park are turning to other options to keep their kids cool, including water parks.

“We’re using the splash pad as much as possible,” Nikki Locullo said. “They wanted to go to the park and I said ‘I don’t think you realize how hot it is.”

“We come prepared. We already know what’s going on,” Ray Del Rosario added.

Parents are reminded to bring flip-flops and other footwear for their kids to use on hot surfaces, and also to bring plenty of sunscreen to reapply frequently.

As much fun as waterparks can be, doctors also advise parents to keep their kids indoors and in air-conditioned facilities whenever possible, meaning that malls, movie theaters and even libraries could be good places to hang out during heat waves.

Finally, parents are advised to keep an eagle-eye on their kids, not relying on the youngsters to know when to stop to rehydrate and refuel.

“It’s our job as the adults and the counselors to force them to stop a lot because a lot of these kids will just run and run,” McLaughlin said. “They don’t care.”

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