Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Three Outdoor Safety Essentials


Spending time outdoors playing and learning is an integral part of our childcare programs. Children naturally embrace all kinds of weather conditions and are excited by wind, rain, cloudy days, snow, fog, and warm sunny days. The natural environment stimulates our senses with changing temperatures, colours, sounds, and children respond with curiosity and interest to their surroundings.

Playing outside in different weather conditions is fun, but we want to make sure everyone is comfortable and protected from weather condition risks. We need to be aware of what the risks are, and make sure we follow safety guidelines.

Here are 3 outdoor safety essentials for children. 

Hydration 
Hydration is an important part of all outdoor activities; whether a strenuous game of chase, or a leisurely walk in a meadow. Water provides hydration without sugar or added colour and flavour so is ideal for children. It is important not to wait until a child feels thirsty and asks for a drink - because dehydration may have already begun. Instead make sure you always have water available and provide a few mouthfuls during breaks in playing games or sports. Hydration is more of a concern as temperatures or exposure to direct sun increases, but it can happen in all weather conditions. Risks include heat stroke and symptoms such as tiredness, headaches, and a general feeling of not being well. So keep the water bottles topped up and have regular breaks for refreshment.

Sunscreen 
If you're going to be outside for an activity, you will want to protect your skin with sunscreen. The UV light from the sun causes skin damage, which is considered cumulative and is a concern for skin cancer. Even when it’s cloudy out, there are still UV rays out coming through. So don’t think sunscreen is only for the beach. When you buy sunscreen get the highest protection level. While sprays and mists may be the quickest to apply it is also more difficult to ensure a complete and uniform application. In addition, consumer reports are warning to use sprays carefully around children because of the potential danger of breathing in the product. It is recommended to spray your hands and then apply the sunscreen to the child.

So along with the water bottle, make sure you have sunscreen ready to re-apply.

Clothing
What you wear for an outdoor activity depends on what the weather is like for the day. When the sun is out make sure children have a hat to shade eyes and protect their heads from the heat and the sun’s powerful rays. When it's warm, but windy, a windbreaker can protect skin from windburn and UV rays. If it’s raining outside a rainproof jack and boots are the order of the day. If there is a puddle nearby you know it will be irresistible so it’s important to have waterproof boots. In the winter, a good snowsuit, winter boots, hats, and mitts is essential. Remember children are fully immersed in the winter conditions, rolling in the snow, sliding down hills, sitting on the snow covered ground, and they need the extra water-proof and low temperature protection.

Getting children outdoors enriches their lives, and promotes health, and well being. Being prepared for weather conditions with the right clothing, protecting skin, and staying hydrated, will ensure that children are safe and comfortable for outdoor activities.

About Discovery Child Care Barrie Based Discovery Child Care brings nature into the classroom and takes the classroom into nature, offering an environmentally aware foundation of early learning for children, from infants to school age. We follow an Emergent Curriculum philosophy, which means your child will be provided with hands-on, play-based learning opportunities that will encourage active exploration, autonomy, choice, problem solving and plain old fun! Your child’s individual interests, abilities and needs will be considered when planning our indoor and outdoor programs. For more information, visit http://www.discoverychild.on.ca or http://www.forestschool.ca/

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