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 😉
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.
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.
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?!”
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.
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