Keeping The Littles Cool During Heatwaves

Here in England, our summer usually consists of a max of 2 weeks of somewhat sunny weather, whilst the rest of the year its almost always raining and miserable. Suddenly for the past 3 months solid, according to the Express, we’re experiencing the hottest and longest heatwave since 1976!

To begin with it was a welcome change from our usual dreary climate, we put the parka coats in the cupboard and everyone hit Primark to stock up as if they were off to Ibiza on their holidays.

We had some lovely days out with the littles, family BBQs, walks around the local country park, got the paddling pool out and they had a fabulous adventure running through the water sprinklers near Lewis Cubbit Park in London when we ventured down there in partnership with Mama Mio Skincare’s #ExpectingChange campaign (click the link to read more about that exciting opportunity!)

Suddenly half way into the horrendous fires we’ve been having on the Saddleworth Moors and Winter Hill, which by the way is literally round the corner from us, the excitement of the weather disintegrated. Something I didn’t expect happened, my youngest Ava suddenly became very lethargic and started vomiting even sips of water. She hadn’t been ill nor had she had any symptoms prior to this. The poor mite spent a full 12hrs glued to me, only waking to sip water, vomit it back up and cry out in discomfort. She got diagnosed with heat stroke despite we took all the precautions – lots of fluids, sun hat and sun cream when out, fans on indoors, ice lollies on tap, cool baths we did it all and the heat still got to her. Urgent care assured me that it wasn’t my fault, that they’d been seeing lots of babies and toddlers especially in urgent care/a + e with symptoms of heat stroke. Thankfully after an hour under a cooling blanket, a further 2hrs on IV fluids and paracetamol – she perked right up and we were sent home. It was such a helpless feeling knowing you did it all and the heat still got to them. In an effort to try and prevent this happening to others, here are some reminders of what you can do to keep your littles cool in heatwaves and what are definite no-no’s…

DO –

Give plenty of fluids

During a heatwave isn’t the time to worry that your toddler is filling themselves up on juice and won’t eat their tea. A drink should be freely available at all times. If you feel they’re not drinking enough or starting to get lethargic, get some Dioralyte from your local pharmacy to help prevent dehydration.

Dioralyte – Blackcurrant – 6 sashets (suitable from 6 months)
Offer Ice lollies on tap

Nor is it time to worry over their sugar intake. Get sugar free lollies if you’re that concerned, they do exist! Ice lollies are a great, fun way to hydrate the littles. You can even make your own out of frozen fruit or smoothie lolly mix!
Have fans in main living areas

During the 2018 heatwave I ended up putting a fan in the living room and mine and the girls bedrooms. It helped tremendously as our house turned into a sauna!
Provide opportunities for water play

Whether it be purchasing a £10 paddling pool out of Argos or letting them play in a cool bath after playing in the garden in the sunshine. Water play is winner in bringing the body temperature down some.
Put a blanket in the freezer

This is REALLY clever idea that I only recently came across! If you put their favourite blankie or a towel even in the freezer for even half an hour, it brings amazing relief to a hot and sweaty tot.


Cover your infants pram with a blanket!

Many parents cover an infants pram/pushchair with a light blanket thinking they’re shielding them from the sun. When in fact they’re actually creating a hot box with their precious baby in the middle of it. You’re better off purchasing an actual sun shade that has UVA protection that’s made of breathable mesh like material like the one here.

Why it’s not safe to cover your baby’s pram with a blanket/muslin
Risk putting sun cream on just because your gardens in the shade

It’s been proven that UV rays are still equally harmful in the shade despite what we might think. Don’t take the risk, use sun cream.
Take long car journeys with no breaks

You’ve probably seen videos online of how dangerous it is leaving your dog in a car, even with the windows down. The same goes for young children. Even with the window open and air con, cars are heat magnets so make sure your family get opportunities to get out the car for a breather every so often on longer trips.

How hot can the interior of a car get? –
Assume they’re fine if they’re not complaining

Even school aged children struggle to express themselves and often it takes them to become quite dehydrated before they come to a standstill and we notice they’re overheated. With youngest children things can go downhill very suddenly so it’s best to be over cautious of their body temp as little ones just can’t tell us how they really feel.

I’m going to round off on the most important information you need to remember as a Mum is any temperature over 38 degrees is worthy of a 111 call. Littles under 3 can have fever induced convulsions and they are the most scariest things to witness your child go through. Don’t ‘wait and see,’ if your child’s temperature is 38 and over and won’t come down with alternating calpol and Nurofen then seek medical advice immediately.

Be mindful and enjoy the weather while it lasts fellow Mums, before we know it we’ll be complaining about it being rainy and miserable again ha!

Useful Links –
Heat exhaustion + heatstroke – NHS UK

How to keep kids cool through the night

Easy frozen healthy snacks to keep kids cool in the summer

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