Keeping Cool with Special Healthcare Needs

With the extreme California heat, we understand children and youth with special healthcare needs may require extra care.

Here are some useful tips and resources to help you stay cool and have fun this summer! 

1. Stay Hydrated: Children may not always realize when they’re thirsty, so it’s essential to encourage regular fluid intake. Always keep water handy and remind children to take sips throughout the day. Infused water with a bit of fruit can make hydration more enjoyable! 

2. Time Outdoors: Plan outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day – early morning or late evening. Protect sensitive skin with sun-safe clothing, hats, sunglasses, and a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Remember, some medications can increase sun sensitivity. 

3. Fun with Water: Water play can be an excellent way to cool down. Small, shallow kiddie pools or water tables can be fun and refreshing. Always ensure adult supervision during water play to keep it safe and fun. 

4. Cooling Centers & Public Spaces: Many communities have cooling centers designed for people to rest in an air-conditioned environment. Libraries, museums, and shopping malls can also offer a cool retreat from the heat. 

5. Heat-Sensitive Nutrition: Some children with special healthcare needs might have specific dietary requirements. Please consult your healthcare provider for nutritional advice tailored to handle the heat. 

6. Therapeutic Cooling Products: Special cooling vests, bandanas, and pillows can provide relief from the heat, especially for children who may have difficulty regulating their body temperature. Consult with your healthcare provider about the use of such products. Remember, each child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. We encourage you to reach out to healthcare professionals to discuss individualized plans for managing heat-related challenges. 

Stay cool, stay safe, and remember, summer is a time for fun!

Resources for staying safe during extreme heat

People with disabilities and chronic health conditions resources

About the Author

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Nick Lutton
Family Engagement Program Manager
Family Voices of California

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