From flash floods to sweltering heat waves, Malaysians are used to the weather changing quickly, sometimes from one hour to the next. One minute you’re in a deluge of a tropical thunderstorm and the next you’re dried to a crisp in the hot sun. Even for a healthy adult with a fully functioning immune system, colds and seasonal fevers crop up from time to time. So imagine how much harder it is to a child.
The effects of climate change on a child
Experts on the other side of the globe agree that climate change “uniquely affect” children’s health. Even though we do not have four seasons, some risks are transferable. Malaysian children are equally at risk of weather related health complications.
The rainy season also brings about an increase in Dengue infections, flooding, and issues with food and water contamination. On the flip side, severe heat waves have in 2016, caused schools to close and the haze epidemic is an almost yearly affair for Malaysians to the point authorities found it necessary to offer firefighting assistance to Indonesia. These weather patterns can and do make our children sick.
In 2015, the World Health Organisation released a climate and health profile report for Malaysia and discussed the effects of the country’s typical weather patterns on the health of citizens. Children and the elderly were listed as most susceptible to heat-related medical conditions amongst others.
What can be done?
Yes, the weather can be dangerous – we get it, but what then? Many parents have resorted to keeping their children locked up inside with TVs and tablets to ensure their environment is climate controlled, free from changing weather patterns and disease carrying mosquitos (and humans). Whilst it is the obvious, easiest fix – it’s not the healthiest.
A sedentary lifestyle can cause obesity and bring about the health hazards associated with it. Being locked up indoors without the opportunity to run around is also not conducive for a child’s mental health. Studies have shown that physically active children are less likely to develop depression. Physical activity also strengthens immune systems – an advantage for a growing child in need of an immunity boost.
While keeping our children safely in doors, we are inadvertently causing them a different kind of harm.
Children need outdoor play but sometimes, the weather doesn’t allow them that luxury. In such a situation a Plan B is in order. Just as an adult goes to the gym when necessary, you can consider signing your child up for indoor activities. When the weather allows, take them outside but when the monsoon season hits or a heat wave happens, you can just switch to the venue indoors. Having indoor play options beyond the home is a good way to encourage social interaction, exercise, and maintain a routine including physical activity no matter the weather. Having routine is in itself a benefit for your child.
Indoor gyms built specially for children give young ‘uns the chance to play, run, and have fun in a space that is safe for them and gives you piece of mind. Activity centres on the other hand offer stimulus for cognitive development and an option to learn outside the classroom. Both kinds of play will be beneficial in the long run and make great fillers for rainy days – literally.
Find a heap of indoor gyms and activity centres on our website. Try Gymnastic Gym, Jungle Gym and Gymboree for exercise activities; or Freshstart Playgroup and Nature Kids for cognitive development activities. Prices and age ranges differ so do check individual pages for more info. Since we're feeling flat-out generous, you can get RM20 OFF your first purchase of ANY activty on Kidxy too. Enter code KIDXY20 & enjoy!
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