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Stay Safe in Summer When Supporting Children & Adults with I/DD

The warm summer weather brings many outdoor opportunities for fun festivities and thrilling adventures. We make enjoyable summer memories by playing at sandy beaches, visiting local parks, or having a ball at amusement parks or botanical gardens. Before embarking on your next adventure, make a plan for when the summer heat becomes unbearable. By taking some preventative measures, you can ensure everyone will have a safe and fun time. The RISE Services, Inc. team recommends keeping these essential safety tips in mind when caring for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

Stay Safe in Summer When Supporting Children & Adults with I/DD

Review Signs of Heat-Related Illness

Before arriving at your destination, review signs of heat-related illness with everyone in the group. Common symptoms include dizziness, headaches, nausea, rashes, muscle cramps, and excessive sweating. Have a plan, like moving to a cooler space or drinking plenty of water, when someone experiences any of these signs. Be ready to seek medical attention if symptoms persist or get worse.

Assign Partners

If you’re taking a large group outside, pair each individual with a partner, such as a caregiver or a friend. The benefits of having partners are twofold. First, individuals can remind each other to practice summer safety, such as drinking water or applying sunscreen. Second, if someone begins to suffer from a heat-related illness, their partner can notify the group leader and quickly get the medical assistance they need.

Use Sunscreen Often

A sunblock that is SPF 30 or higher protects most individuals from UV rays. Be sure to have everyone reapply sunscreen every two hours for maximum protection. Caregivers or parents may need to remind individuals with I/DD to wear sunscreen. Don’t forget to use it for yourself, too.

Bring Cold, Bottled Water

Another protective step to keeping everyone safe is to pack cold, bottled water, and lots of it. The summer sunshine is beautiful but can quickly lead to dehydration among your group members. Be sure to remind everyone to drink water throughout their time outdoors, even if they don’t feel thirsty, and especially if they’re particularly active. 

Stay in the Shade

Choose shady areas to rest and relax while enjoying the sunny weather. Consider packing beach umbrellas or pop-up canopies if you plan on staying in one location for a few hours. You can also keep your group away from hazardous heat by planning outdoor activities for early morning or late afternoon when temperatures are cooler. If an indoor public space is available, you may wish to reserve it so everyone can get some relief inside.

Enjoy Summer to the Fullest

At RISE, we enjoy helping children and adults with I/DD enjoy their summer to the fullest. We foster an inclusive environment where individuals are respected and valued. Contact us today to learn more about how we transform the lives of individuals and families across the country through our person-centered services and our commitment to safety, quality, and choice. 

Source: “Savoring Summer Safely: A Guide for Individuals with I/DD and Their Caregivers.” Web article. Independent Living Association, Inc. 08 Jun. 2023. Web. 30 Jun. 2023.