Cumbria County Council have sent the following advice for keeping children cool and safe in the heat next week.
Guidance for those Looking After Schoolchildren and those in Early Years Settings during Heatwaves
- children playing outdoors should be encouraged to stay in the shade as much as possible
- loose, light coloured clothing should be worn to help children keep cool and sunhats with wide brims should be worn to avoid sunburn
- thin clothing or sunscreen (at least factor 15 with UVA protection) should be used to protect skin if children are playing or taking lessons outdoors for more than 20 minutes
- children must be provided with plenty of water (such as water from a cold tap) and encouraged to drink more than usual when conditions are hot
- On very hot days (i.e. where temperatures are in excess of 30°C) children should not take part in vigorous physical activity
- Open windows as early as possible in the morning before children arrive, or preferably overnight to allow stored heat to escape the building – it is important to check insurance conditions and the need for security if windows are to be left open overnight
- Almost close windows when the outdoor air becomes warmer than the air indoors – this should help keep the heat out while allowing adequate ventilation
- Use outdoor sun awnings if available, or close blinds / curtains, but do not let them block window ventilation.
- Keep the use of electric lighting to a minimum
- All electrical equipment, including computers, monitors and printers should be switched off when not in use and should not be left in ‘standby mode’ as this generates heat
- If possible use those classrooms or other spaces which are less likely to overheat, and adjust the layout of teaching spaces to avoid direct sunlight on children
- Oscillating mechanical fans can be used to increase air movement if temperatures are below 35°C. At temperatures above 35°C fans may not prevent heat-related illness and may worsen dehydration
- If necessary, consider rearranging school start, finish and play times to avoid teaching during very hot conditions (i.e. 35°C or above)
- Encourage children to eat normally and drink plenty of cool water