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5 Lessons in Surviving Desert Heat with Children

From 18ºC (64ºF) in Sweden, to 41ºC (105ºF) in California. There are a few things we could have done differently, and certainly a few ’incidents’ that could have been avoided! You live and learn. OR you read up about it in advance 😉

5 Lessons in Surviving Desert Heat with Children


Those ’oh so cute’ swimsuits? Ours were a total waste of time!

Lesson 1: Long sleeved sunproof swimwear.

Retrospectively it all makes so much sense! Of course you can’t take hibernated skin and put it right out there to roast.


Lesson 2: Water-resistant sunscreen is good for 80 minutes!

’Water-resistant’ and ’Very Water-resistant’ sunscreen wears off too! In the US water-resistant sunscreen has to be labelled with information about how often it needs to be reapplied. Have you ever seen that on a European bottle?

I truly believed it was enough to put it on the kids before swimming in the morning; reapply around lunchtime; again later in the afternoon perhaps. That would be reapplying with 3-4 hour intervals… Not even close to enough! There’s not a brand that boasts more than 80 minutes of water-resistance. Which explains precisely why Miss 7 looked like a lobster after only 1/3 of a day outdoors, despite being coated in ’very water-resistant’ 50 SPF sunscreen in the morning.

5 Lessons in Surviving Desert Heat with Children


We all know we’re supposed to drink liters of water, and take water with you EVERYWHERE (especially in the car – you never know when you’re going to be stuck in an hours traffic). But really, nobody wants to drink lukewarm water…

Lesson 3: Freeze your water. Making sure to tip a bit out first! – hopefully my dripping bag, free science lesson and comment here save you from having to go through the same. Yes, water expands when it freezes, and that means the cap on your bottle isn’t going to stay sealed.

5 Lessons in Surviving Desert Heat with Children


Lesson 4: However hot and uncomfortable you think the air-conditioning in the car is… Don’t open the windows!

Driving at 40 mph (60 kmph) you’d be forgiven for thinking that the breeze might be refreshing. Certainly being stuck in a confined space with complaining children five minutes, made the suggestion seem worth a try. About 20 seconds later the windows were being frantically closed. It was like putting a hairdryer on top heat and blasting full throttle at your face.

Miss 7: ” HOW does anyone live here?!”

5 Lessons in Surviving Desert Heat with Children


Lesson 5: Don’t plan to do anything in the middle of the day.

It’s tempting to be led by an ambition to make the most of every moment; and easy to think you’re ’oh so clever’ when those activities are indoors. Just remember that you have to get between buildings; stand in lines; that you’re car will be toasting away in the sun while you do… That at midday, even if you find the one lone tree in the parking lot, there’ll be no shade around it to put your car in, only right beneath.

5 Lessons in Surviving Desert Heat with Children

Linking 5 Lessons in Surviving Desert Heat with Children with #BrillinatBlogPosts, #SHINEbloghop & #TheList



  1. Brilliant tips and heading to Spain soon so will be referring back, I always keep the kids out of the heat at peak hours so 12-3, love the tip on freezing water bottles, genius. Thanks for linking x

    • Thanks Elizabeth 🙂
      Freezing definitely makes a HUGE difference come lunch time; even late afternoon. It’s like having a fresh store bought bottle straight from the fridge!

  2. We’ve been hitting the 90’s this week, and I love it, but the kids are wilting! Your tips are great, and essential. We never go anywhere without water, UV suits are a must, we try to avoid the middle of the day and I use the spray on sun screen so that I can reapply regularly as they run past! No sunburn incidents yet, except for the stripe I missed on my own back 🙂 #brillblogposts

    • Haha! Oops! Yes, covering ourselves is often the piece of the puzzle that’s most easily overlooked 😉
      Our kids were definitely wilting too!!
      …It was the regular ice cream and watermelon stops, accompanied by salty crisps when we weren’t sure they’d drunk enough that were the welcomed rest bites they needed 😉

  3. Now 41degree Celcius heat to me sounds like home. My Scottish wife, who you might imagine would love such heat, what with it never being that warm in Glasgow, just couldn’t do it and so the odds of us ever visiting California in high summer are slim. Sadly. Even so, I’m not sure I’d want to do it with the kids. Great tip about freezing water. So obvious and yet it had never occoured to me!

  4. What a big change for you all! I hope that you’ll get used to it and that you end up loving where you are!

    Do the kids like it?

    When you’re really hot, feeling wiped out, place that frozen water bottle on the back of your neck, or on your wrists, it helps to hold it there for a bit, it will cool your body down pretty quickly.

    I like it hot, but humid and 90+ is not my favorite, we’re there now, so I am in the house doing inside stuff!

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