Monday was a nice and warm reminder that summer really is here, but by Tuesday, a temperature topping 90 degrees with yucky humidity was a reminder of the flip side of summer — those days when there's not a breath of fresh air to be found, day or night.
My older son arrived home late that afternoon after starting classes as the University of Medicine and Dentistry in Newark — where he said he saw a temperature reading of 97 degrees.
But while our air conditioning-challenged home may have initially struck him as a cooler haven after urban heat, he soon grew tired of sitting in a still relatively warm interior and headed for a (more air-conditioned) workout facility.
While older children can get to their own cool spots, parents of younger children, or even teens, might have to prepare for keeping everyone occupied, entertained — and safe — on days of extreme heat.
We wrote about and some of those ideas apply to kids. That includes heading to the movies, the library, indoor recreational facilities and, for those who are interested, visits to museums.
The local pool already is open with preseason part-time hours, but that also should be a reminder that it's time to brush up on water safety rules with children who may have forgotten them over the winter. Or to be aware that younger children may have gained more agility over the past several months, and may need to be supervised more carefully.
The preview of swimming and beach weather is a reminder that it's time to stock up on sun block. What level of sun protection do you use on your child?
Children can disregard the heat when playing outdoors on hot days — even older kids can ignore signs of heat exhaustion. I came home on a sweltering day about two summers ago to find my house soaked with puddles and soggy towels. I was mad, to say the least — but found out later that one of the local teenagers had overheated and his friends decided to apply their own treatment.
While I was glad they had responded quickly, I did remind them they also should have called a parent. And I did hope that perhaps the lesson had sunk in a little that extreme heat and sun can be dangerous for everyone.
So what activities do you plan for your children during very hot weather? Do your children have very fair skin that must be carefully protected? Do you need to remind older children — and even those who tan easily — that even they aren't invulnerable?
Do you come up with light meals for hot days? What else do you do to beat the heat?
While we all like to think of summer as a carefree time, it's probably a good idea to keep in the back of our minds that extreme heat and hot sun can, in a different way, can be as hazardous as very cold weather.