Keeping Cool As Thousands Of OKC Kids Head Back To School

Sunday, July 31st 2011, 6:06 pm
By: News 9

Deanne Stein,

OKLAHOMA CITY -- School starts Monday for thousands of kids here in the metro as Oklahoma City Public Schools starts its first year of "continuous learning." That means an early start date and two more additional weeks of this heatwave.

Like most kids, Caleb Tate won't be bothered by the heat. But his mother Marilyn is and knows exactly what to do.

"It's Oklahoma, it's August and it's still hot," she said.  Marilyn Tate is an Oklahoma City mother of two and a teacher. "So, we're going to do the same things we do then, you know, I'll have my children wear shorts to school and take water bottles."

According to Dr. Nate Claver, an emergency department physician at Integris Southwest, Tate is on the right track.

"Children certainly can get more easily overheated than adults," he said, "mostly because, as adults, if we get overheated we can find a way to get indoors."

So, when kids head back to class in the heat, parents should take into account how it could affect their kids, especially if they have to walk to school with their backpacks in tow.

"With these extreme temperatures, your body is already having to work harder to cool itself down, so the more weight you are carrying, does put more toll on your body," Claver said.

Check out the American Red Cross's "Heat Wave Safety Checklist."

But he said hydration is the number one way to avoid heat related problems.

"The most important thing is if your child has to walk to the bus stop is going to be fluids," said Claver. "You know, send them with a couple of Gatorades or vitamin water, drinks with electrolytes is going to be better than just water."

These are common sense tips that moms like Marilyn already use. 

"We got phone calls from the district talking about sending your kids to school with water and keeping them hydrated," said Marilyn Tate. "We just have to be smart like we are every year in August with the kids."

Related Story: OKC Public Schools To Keep Kids Safe From Heat When Classes Begin