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10 ways to keep your kids safe when cycling on a hot day
It's really important to keep your kids safe when cycling on a hot day. In the UK we spend most of the year dreaming of long, hot, sunny summer days, but when a really hot spell arrives the heat can take us all by surprise. Here's 10 things you need to know to make your family cycle ride in the sun safe and fun.
1) Water, water, water
Don't under estimate the amount of water you'll need to carry when cycling on a hot day. Carry as much as possible in water bottles on your bikes, and lots extra in extra bottles in your bags.
Do you have enough water to cope with the unexpected situations such as your kids pouring a bottle over their heads to cool down, or wash their bike because it's "looking dusty"? One way to stop this waste of water is to have a non-spill bottle for the kids, such as the CamelBak kids water bottle although note that this won't fit in a bottle cage.
Another great solution is to get your child to carry their own water in a junior hydration pack - this allows them to sip regularly throughout the journey, and is useful if their bike won't fit a bottle cage. Camelbak do some great kids sized hydration packs, with pockets for older kids, and one with just the hydration system for smaller children.
2) Take it easy when cycling on a hot day
Cycling in hot weather is exhausting, so plan your route carefully. If you have any doubts about your kids ability to complete a route, then rethink your plans.
3) Seek out the shade
When you take a break from riding, try and keep your children cool. Often kids will run off and play but try and get them to rest in a shady place before getting on their bikes again.
4) Protect your kids from the sun
Apply sun screen regularly on all exposed parts, and cover up with thin, wicking layers. A kids cycling jersey is one good way to help regulate their temperature. Some T-shirts now come with insect repellent and UV protection too, so skin doesn't get burnt through the material.
Eyes are just as vulnerable to damage by the sun, as well as to flying bugs, so kids sunglasses are really important. For the under 2's, Baby Banz have a strap to keep them in place - very handy, or you'll find they threw them out of the trailer miles back!
5) Carry a sun hat for when helmets come off
For your kids and yourself (especially if you're going thin on top!)
6) Take extra care of little passengers
Babies and small children in cargo bikes, bike seats and cycle trailers are particularly vulnerable when you're cycling on a hot day - make sure their delicate skin is protected, and they remain hydrated. If they're in an enclosed trailer make sure they're not overheating. In cargo bikes and bike seats remember that they're just sitting there, so they may actually get cold, and need warmer clothing than everyone else.
If you're cycling in the hot weather while pregnant, take it very easy - avoid overheating and dehydrating
7) Don't take chocolate
Flapjacks, bananas and malt loaf are child friendly alternatives that will give them the energy needed to complete your family bike ride, but won't melt. Alternatively you can resort to the cyclist favourite - jelly sweets.
8) You should always have an ice cream stop
This is my 7 year old's number 1 rule for cycling on a hot sunny day!
9) Mad dogs and family cyclists go out in the midday sun
If you can, plan to take the kids cycling on a hot day either early in the morning, or later in the afternoon to avoid the main heat of the day
10) Water, water water
Did I mention this? If you're going cycling on a hot day always carry more water and other drinks than you think you'll need. This is additionally important if you're not going to be able to refill en-route.
And if it all gets a bit too hot, you may need to find novel ways to cool down!
Have a wonderful time, and don't forget that if the forecast is for ridiculous temperatures, you can always reschedule your ride!
We'd love to hear how you get on keeping your kids cool on a sunny day - come and share on the Cycle Sprog Facebook page, or tag your Instagram pictures with #cyclesprog
This article was first published on 6th July 2014, and was edited in June 2019, when it was sunny again!
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