Beating the heat

We're in the middle of a heat wave here in NYC, so I thought that instead of just complaining about it, I could put up a post and we could share ideas for dealing with heat and humidity. To those of you down under and in NZ going into winter now, I apologize. But I know you Australians have tips for staying cool in the heat, so lay 'em on us, please.

I'm going to share what I've learned, but obviously I'm no expert. I have two fair-skinned kids (although both are slightly darker than I am–I never tan ever, only burn and freckle, and my kids turn a nice golden by the end of the summer) and I live in NYC where there isn't much community space inside and we spend lots of time outside at playgrounds all summer. Also, there's just no way to escape the heat in NYC since you have to be outside for significant time to get from one place to another. You come out of your apartment and walk to the subway or bus. Even if you can afford to take a cab everywhere, you still have to stand outside waiting for one. If you live in a public tran/walking city you'll get what I mean, while those of you who take cars everywhere probably can't imagine it.

My first tip is to remember that little babies are probably feeling better in the heat than we are. Not too long ago they were in 98.6 degree heat and 100% humidity, so they aren't as shocked and affronted by the wall of heat as older kids and adults tend to be.

That also means that you can definitely take them outside, just use common sense. It's better to go out in the early morning and late afternoon than the middle of the day. And don't have your babies in direct sunlight for more than a few seconds at a time. It's not good for their core temperature, skin, or eyes. The best thing in terms of monitoring their heat and shade level is to wear them in a carrier, but the hot hot heat is going to make that icky for you, so even die-hard babywearers often switch to the stroller in the heat of summer. (Other benefit of the stroller: cupholders for cool beverages.)

I loved my stroller tie-on protective shade because it provided shade, SPF protection, and still allowed the breeze to come through, but was annoyed with it because if I walked too fast it'd flip up and flap around. Maybe it was good that I had to pace myself?

I just realized I could blather on, but most of my tips can be summarized thusly: shade, cool liquids, and naps when people need them. Don't be a hero. And seriously keep an eye on your older, sports-playing kids to make sure they're not overdoing it (especially in polyester uniforms) because heat stroke/exhaustion can creep up on you. (I get it myself every few years because I'm a dumb-ass, and can attest that it's a slippery slope.)

What do you have for beating summer heat and sun?

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