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Beat the heat Seattle

Beat the heat: Ways to stay safe and cool off in high temps

Where to find fun and a little heat relief

Summer can be more than fun it in the sun — it can be a health hazard in high temperatures, leading to  heatstroke and other health concerns.

The National Weather Service has placed an “excessive heat” warning on the Puget Sound region this week. Temperatures are expected to climb into the 80s or 90s through Wednesday. That’s “dangerously hot,” according to Weather Underground.

Below is out list of great beat-the-heat activities and spots around Puget Sound — and Seattle Children’s Hospital’s suggestions  for keeping your family safe as they roll through the last weeks of summer .

What can you do to beat the heat and have fun?

Head to a Seattle-area wading pools: Shallow wading pools are a perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon with little kids. Many of them are near shady trees and park lawns, so pack a picnic. Click here to find a pool near you.

Get wet at local spray parks and splash pads: There’s nothing more quintessentially summer than kids running through sprinklers on a hot day. If you don’t have a backyard with sprinklers (or if you’re minding your water bill), you’ll find a variety of spray parks and splash pads at Seattle-area parks. Click here to find a park or pad near you. Here’s what to expect at some of our favorites.

Check out the area’s best beaches for kids: The water is always cool in the greater Seattle area. From lakes to Puget Sound shores, here are the best beaches to take the family. Be sure to slather on sunscreen and consider long-sleeved SPF50 swim shirts and hats.

Dice into an indoor pool: In the heat of a summer afternoon, it might be wise to avoid the UV rays and get your swimming fix indoors. This updated list has both indoor and outdoor pools.

Spend time public indoor spaces: Walk a shopping mall, take in a movie, take refuge in a library. Many libraries have made their facilities available as cooling centers.

Don’t forget frozen treats: Sometimes the best way to cool off is with a double scoop of cookie dough ice cream. Here’s where to find the best ice cream treats around Seattle.

How to void heat cramps, exhaustion and stroke.

Seattle Children’s Hospital offers this list of ways to protect kids against heat reactions and to keep safe in hot summer weather:

  • Drink more water. When working or exercising in hot weather, have your child drink large amounts of cool water. This helps to prevent dehydration. For teens, this means at least 8 ounces (240 mL) every 15 to 30 minutes. Water is the ideal liquid for replacing lost sweat. Very little salt is lost.
  • Sports drinks. If kids are working out for longer than an hour, replace 1 water drink per hour with a sports drink.
  • Take water breaks. Do this every 15 minutes in the shade. Drink some water even if you’re not thirsty.
  • Avoid salt tablets. They slow down stomach emptying and delay the absorption of fluids.
  • Dress cool. Wear a single layer of lightweight clothing. Change it if it becomes wet with sweat. Protect babies with fevers from heatstroke by not bundling them in blankets. Also, do not dress them in too many clothes. Children usually need the same number of clothing layers as adults.
  • Exercise smart. Physical activity in hot weather should be increased slowly. Sports coaches suggest that exercise sessions be shortened and made easier when it’s hot. This is usually when the temperature is over 82°F (28°C). Also, this is very important if the humidity is high.
  • Spend as much time as possible inside with air-conditioning. Electric fans also help.
  • Limit hot tub time. When using a hot tub, limit use to 15 minutes. Use a “buddy” system in case a heat reaction suddenly occurs. Do not use a hot tub if your child has a fever. Also, do not use them right after hard work or sports. The body needs to get rid of heat. NOTE: children less than 3 years old should not use hot tubs.
  • Never leave a child or a pet in a parked car. The temperature inside a car can increase 20 degrees in just 10 minutes and 40 degrees in an hour. It doesn’t have to feel hot outside to be dangerous inside a car.

Ways to cool down quickly if you get to hot

Sometimes, no matter what precautions you take, a child gets overheated. The following tips apply whether your child just needs a cool off. But be sure to look for signs of head exhaustion or stroke on particularly hot days.

  • Give your child a lukewarm bath or sponge them down with lukewarm water.
  • Apply cold water or ice to strategic points on the body where the veins are close to the surface — such as the wrists, neck, chest, and temples. It can quickly lower the temperature
  • Have your child rest in a cool, dark room with a fan. You can place bowl ice in front of the fan to cool the room further.
Heat warning

Where to place icebags if when symptoms point to heatstroke.

Signs of a serious heat illness include: throbbing headache, confusion, nausea, dizziness, body temperature above 103°F, hot, red, dry or damp skin, rapid and strong pulse, fainting, loss of consciousness. If anyone in your family is experiencing these symptoms call 911 or get them to a hospital immediately. Use icepacks as outlined above while you transport to the hospital or wait for emergency workers to arrive. Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency.

A great resource from Seattle Children’s 

Knowing the signs of heat cramps heat exhaustion and heat stroke are key to preventing these hot weather hazards. Seattle Children’s Hospital offers a detail description of heat-related illness in “Heat Exposure and Reactions: Is this your child’s symptom?” The document also instructs parents when and whom to call if they suspect their child is suffering from heat cramps, exhaustion or stroke. This is one to print out and stick on the refrigerator each summer.

More at Seattle’s Child:

Expert tips for staying healthy and safe in a heat wave 

Sunscreen for kids in Seattle: What you need to know

How to make sure your swimming spot is safe and clean

15 Seattle-area restaurants with great patios

About the Author

Seattle's Child staff