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How to prepare your kids for being outdoors in summer

Don’t forget heat protection while having fun in the sun
Summer is all about visiting parks and beaches and soaking up some vitamin D. But while being in the sun is important, too much exposure can be dangerous. Too many people forget about basic precautions resulting in harmful side effects.
Kitsilano is Vancouver’s most popular beach, so you can expect that a lot of people will be packing up to enjoy a day in the sun. And with Kitsilano’s renovated pool, who could resist paying a visit? We want you to make the most of your fun in the sun by preparing you with the following list of safety precautions for you and your family.
HEAT PROTECTION
Apply sunscreen early and continuously
Even on cloudy days, you should always apply sunscreen liberally and frequently. Plan to put sunscreen on at least 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors to make sure the protection really soaks into your skin. Applying sunscreen just once is not enough. Continue to reapply sunscreen after every couple of hours and after every dip in the pool or beach.
Use proper coverage
The sun can harm skin in a number of ways. Protect your children from harmful rays and exposure by making sure you pack them a hat, sunglasses and other protective clothing. A light long sleeve shirt and pants could protect them from the sun, but keep in mind that you don’t want to overheat them with anything too heavy. Kitsilano has plenty of shops and places you can stop into to pick up a cool drink and take a break from the heat in an air conditioned building.

Cooling down at the water park


Note that while shade does provide relief from heat, it does NOT fully protect from UVR and your child could still get a sunburn in the shade.
Avoid peak hours
The sun reaches its peak between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Avoid letting your children play outdoors during this time as much as possible. Try to reschedule and plan outdoor activities for the cooler parts of the day, such as in the early mornings or late afternoons.
Keep children hydrated
If you know you will be out for the day, pack a few water bottles and fill them up with ice. Make sure you and your child drink plenty of water before you even feel thirsty. Also eat more fruits and vegetables throughout the day.

Kitsilano Pool


WATER PROTECTION
Keep watch over children in water
Don’t let your phone distract you when your kids are playing in water. Lifeguards are there to help watch for signs of drowning or injury, however, ultimately it is your responsibility to look after your child. Know where your child is at all times and ensure they are keeping safe water play practices. Make sure to never leave your child alone near any body of water.
Know your skills
If it’s been a while, consider updating your basic Child CPR certificate. Ideally you should refresh your knowledge on first aid each year.

Sunny afternoon at Kitsilano beach


Put your child in swimming lessons
It’s a good idea for your children to take swimming lessons and as early as possible if you want them to fully enjoy the benefits of swimming. Proper lessons can significantly reduce a child’s risk of drowning.
Important References

  1. Sun Safety tips for parents from the Government of Canada website
  2. Extreme heat: heat waves from the Government of Canada website
  3. 13 Ways the Sun Affects Your Body from the Live Well blog