This post was published almost exactly a year ago. I dusted it off, updated the Directory, and was able to add some new resource sites so I'm republishing!
Summer's here and we're all feeling the heat. If your Special Needs child needs additional help keeping cool because of medical conditions or medications then you'll want to check out this list of suppliers of cooling garments and products.
Most of these are not geared towards smaller children but they can be a source of inspiration if you are the creative type. There are some products like bandanas, towels, wrist bands or skull caps that might fit your child. Here in Tennessee, our local WalMart carries cooling bandanas and hats in the Sporting Goods department, check with sporting supply companies in your area. Also try your local Harley Davidson dealer, if they don't sell any of these products they might be able to tell you who does. Some of the bandanas and wrist wraps are so inexpensive that it seems a shame to pay shipping so if you have time to look for a local store it might be worth it.
One parent on the Down Syndrome Forum shared that she modified a child's life vest by removing the foam inserts and replacing them with freezer packs. I checked our local Target, and these vests are super cute and less than $20. But if your child is on the small size you might still have a problem finding this style of life vest in her size.
Some cooling garments can get really cold and can damage skin, especially in children with decreased sensation or impaired communication. Read the fine print about how cold a garment gets, how long it stays cold, and return policies just in case it doesn't work out. If your child cannot properly sense the garment or tell you if they are uncomfortable then try it on yourself first and consider putting a protective fabric layer between the garment and your child's skin to prevent injury. Do not wrap a child (or adult) in a cooling quilt or mat. Remember to ask a physician about the safety of cooling products for your child and how long it should be left on before you check your child's skin, and how often and how long to give time off from the garment.
Please feel free to leave a comment about where you purchase cooling products and your experiences with any of these vendors!
Aquality has cooling skull caps, neck wraps, and the Arcticollar.
Body Cooler has a size chart for their vests conveniently located in this link.
The eSafety Store & More is geared towards construction and outdoor workers.
This weighted compression vest from Fun and Function can be modified to use as a child's cooling vest by replacing the weights with freezer packs. This might be an option for smaller children.
MiraCool is cooling military apparel and hats, sizes go to adult x-small.
The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America's Cooling Equipment Distribution Program provides cooling products free of charge to qualified individuals.
Silver Eagle Outfitters has a pullover style child's cooling vest, but parents on Parent 2 Parent Forum have complained that the head hole is too small.
Spits Bandana Cool has some fun designs, a neat variety of hat styles, and their cooling product line is not limited to bandanas.
Sixsixone's Core Cooler is unique - it's like a shoulder drape or small cape. Not super fashionable, but if your child gets really sick with the heat then it's an option. The Core Cooler is available in Youth Sizes and there is a sizing chart.
Texas Cool Wear has wristbands and bandanas, but also a cooling towel that can be personalized for your organization.
Tuff Rhino has cooling wristbands, bandanas and vests. Their cooling hat liners could be placed in a vest for smaller children.
You might also like:
Some Tips on How to Beat the Summer Heat
Eat Your Water: Stay Hydrated with Water Rich Foods
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