No-sweat tips for a healthy summer
• Breastfed babies don't need water in hot weather, says Teresa Pitman, Today's Parent Steps & Stages columnist and executive director of La Leche League Canada. "Studies in India have shown that breastmilk changes in hot weather — it has more fluid." Make sure to increase your fluid intake, Pitman advises — you're drinking for two. Formula-fed babies do need extra water between feedings.
• Hot weather might make breastfeeding slightly slippery. "If you're really sweaty, it's harder to get a very little baby attached," says Pitman. Before nursing, wipe off breasts gently with a towel. Then keep your cool (and baby's) by placing a cloth between you and him as he nurses.
• Taking expressed milk to an all-day outdoor event? Keep it fresh in a cooler bag with a refreezable gel pack.
• Before your kids invade their favourite seasonal retreat, give play equipment a feel. Metal rails and handles can reach a scorching 49°C (120°F) and even plastic can singe in the sun. While you're at it, douse stone walkways and patios to spare bare feet.
• If you like your greenery green, let kids frolic in the sprinkler in the morning or evening — midday sunlight quickly evaporates water.
• For a natural bug buster, try planting horsemint, marigolds, catnip or rosemary; scrunching their leaves will release oils that are believed to keep mosquitoes away.
• Don't forget your four-legged friends. Set up shaded areas so pets can escape the heat, and keep light-coloured pets inside when it's really roasting, as their skin burns easily.
Blackout survival tips
As households plug in fans and crank up air conditioning, rolling blackouts or hydro failures can become a problem in urban areas. Be prepared for when the power goes out:
• Keep fresh backup batteries in plugged-in radios.
• Designate someone to check on vulnerable family members.
• Stock up on must-have meds: Stores, including pharmacies, may be out of commission.
• Prepare an emergency kit with flashlights, candles, matches, a corded phone, batteries, first-aid kid, extra bottled water (if you normally buy it), canned goods, battery-operated fans, playing cards, books, games and CDs. Visit Toronto Emergency Medical Services for more info.
• Keep the fridge door closed as much as possible, so you don't lose cold air. And place a thermometer in the freezer; if the temperature remains at 4°C (about 40°F) or lower after a blackout, you can safely refreeze your food.