Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Keeping cool — Fun ideas and innovations to help cool heat-sensitive kids

In addition to her ever-growing list of diagnoses, Little Miss M has significant temperature regulation issues. Her body's thermostat does not work correctly and so when it gets hot outside, her body just keeps getting warmer. She has spiked 102 F (38.9 C) temperatures from being out in the heat for only five minutes. Staying cool is very important for many heat-sensitive children. Here are some products and techniques we have discovered. What are some fun things you do to keep cool?

1. Dress for the weather or the temperature

Little Miss M is always in layers, so we can peel them off or put them back on as her body demands. Sundresses are great, as are lightweight cardigan sweaters. This seems pretty obvious, but it's still worth the mention. Little Miss will often be in shorts when others are still in pants, but it's much easier to warm her up than cool her down. For both boys and girls, look for lightweight fabrics and natural fibers that do not trap the heat against the skin.

2. The cooling vest

This awesome item has allowed Little Miss M to participate in so many activities she would have had to miss. Evaporative, quick cooling ice packs are inserted into pockets and help cool the body's core. There are many companies that make this amazing invention, and sometimes medical insurance will even cover them as durable goods. We got ours through a grant from a foundation. Hers is a CoolSport but the company doesn't seem to make vests any longer. They do offer an extensive line of other cooling items. More information on these items can be found at the AbleData website.

3. The cool towel 

I found Frogg Togg Chilly Pad (Pink) on Amazon. These are on my list of summer purchases. The product claims that when wet the towel gets cool and when applied to a person, cools them. All that is needed to recharge the towel is water. Amazing — and they have a whole line of products in various colors!

4. Ice pops 

Popsicles can help keep both adults and children cool. It doesn't matter if you make your own or buy them, they are a cool and refreshing treat. My kids can't say no! There are countless recipes. I just found this huge list of recipes on a Make Your Own Popsicles board on Pinterest.

Looking for molds? We have Tovolo Groovy Ice Pop Molds, Yellow — Set of 6 and they work pretty well!

5. Water Squirters

If kids are out playing in the yard, a pool or in a park, then they may enjoy cooling off by getting squirted with water. Some water squirters have a reservoir to hold the water, while others need a pool or water bucket near by to fill up.

A favorite with my girls and their friends are the Little Kids Soak 'n Splash Dino Squirter Water Toy

6. Kiddie pools

Don't knock them until you've tried them. My three girls, the smallest of whom is 34.5 inches, and the largest at 55 inches, all play together for hours on end in a small round inflatable pool. I watch for them to be on sale, and pick up a few as they are sure to get popped by squirrels who see fit to ruin summer days!

I got the Kiddie Pool — Sunset Glow Inflatable Pool — Intex (66" x 18"), but there are plenty of others to choose from in all price ranges.

7. Ice Play

This is on my list for an activity with the girls this summer. I plan to take a bunch of different containers and freeze water to make ice. I will then pop them all out and let the girls assemble a frozen structure on the back deck. I have a feeling Princesses Anna and Elsa from Frozen may make a trip out back too! Here are even more ice play ideas I found on Pinterest. On a truly hot day, kids may also enjoy playing Frozen Free Fall (FREE, iPad/iPhone).

8. Splash Pad

If you are lucky, perhaps you have a splash pad or water park that is local. Splash pads are a great alternative to crowded swimming pools. If you don't have a splash pad in your area, perhaps you are handy enough to make one on your own. I am intrigued and intimidated by this concept, but there are so many cool ideas. We do hook up the sprinkler for the kids, or on a difficult day we play "Mommy Sprinkler," where I squirt them with the hose. I think this other homemade splash pad would be a pretty incredible addition to our plans. 

What are you doing to keep cool this summer? Share with us in the comments below.

Amanda has a feeling she will be drenched for a good part of the summer, but is hoping to be surrounded by giggling, smiling children.

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