5 Top Tips for Safe Summer Outdoor Play

If, like us, you’ve been enjoying this beautiful heatwave, you might have been searching to stay cool or hydrated. But have you considered how children can stay safe in this sun and still enjoy their outdoor play?

Here at The School Playground Company, we have been drawing up our top tips for encouraging safe summertime play and navigating children’s playgrounds without compromising on fun, which you can read here:

1: Stay Hydrated

One of the most important things you can do in hot weather is prevent dehydration. Dehydration can have very serious consequences, and can cause collapsion, exhaustion, or even hospitalisation in some cases.

To avoid this, children should always have access to drinking water and drink regularly throughout the day. We recommend bringing more than one bottle out with you if possible – after all, things can go wrong, bottles can get spilled, or someone might be extra thirsty that day! It’s much better to be prepared than to run out of water.

2: Wear Appropriate Clothing

When thinking about what to wear, young children won’t consider the impact the heat may have on their bodies. Dressing for the weather will help avoid issues like heat exhaustion, sunburn or dehydration. Here are some of our top tips about dressing for the heat:

  • Avoid long sleeves, thicker materials (wool, denim), or more fitted clothes like jeans and tight tops. Instead, think about cooler materials, such as cotton, and more lightweight clothes like dresses, skirts and shorts.
  • Keep footwear lightweight, but still safe for playing. Boots, heavier trainers and socks are likely to make children feel hotter and sweatier. However, flimsier shoes like flip-flops or open-toed sandals shouldn’t be worn during play – they have no grip, are easier to trip over or get caught in equipment, and it will be much easier to stub a toe or injure the exposed part of the foot.
  • Think accessories! Certain accessories will make hot weather and direct sunlight much more bearable. For example, bucket hats prevent scalps from burning and provide some eye protection from their longer brims blocking direct sunlight to the eyes. Similarly, sunglasses will come in handy to protect children’s eyes from harsher light conditions and potential vision damage.

3: Take Breaks during Outdoor Play

It should come as no surprise that children take ‘play hard’ very seriously! Often, children can tire themselves out very easily from exerting all their energy into playing. However, this can prove more dangerous in the sun, where high temperatures and faster rates of dehydration contribute to slower recovery rates and increased chances of falling ill – heatstroke, exhaustion or the like. To prevent burnout, children should be encouraged to take regular breaks, drink water, and seek out shaded areas wherever possible.

4: Protect Your Skin

Younger children’s skin is much more susceptible to sunburn and damage than adults. When spending long periods of time playing outdoors in the sun, it’s easily possible for children to suffer serious sunburn. To avoid this happening, children should be wearing sufficient amounts of sunscreen, with a factor rating effective for their skin. Ensure all areas of their skin not covered by clothes – including their faces – are covered with sunscreen.

5: Monitor Outdoor Play Equipment

Certain materials can heat up very quickly in summer, such as rubber, metal and plastic, all of which are commonly used as outdoor play surfacing. This can pose risks for burns and injuries. If children go down a piping hot metal slide, or use a trampoline that has been sat in the direct sun all day, they have a high chance of burning their skin.

Responsible adults should ensure that equipment is cool enough for children to safely use, and ensure that appropriate safety measures are followed – for example, wearing shoes so that bare feet are not exposed to hot ground surfaces.

We hope this article has given you some ideas of how to keep children safe in the summer heatwave. However, if you have any other questions for us, we’d love to chat – either call us on 01455 412134 or fill in the contact form below for a response ASAP!