Summer Fun... Summer Safety
It’s Summer time…
For all of us, it means increased outdoor activities with beach time, swimming, biking, hiking, and picnics! Being outside is healthy and fun for the whole family, but it is important to remember to be safe while doing all activities. Here are a few safety tips to remember this summer while you’re out having fun…
- While swimming is a great way to stay active and keep kids busy during the summer, without appropriate supervision, it can be very dangerous.
- Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children ages 1 to 14, and children account for 1 in 4 drowning deaths in the U.S.
- Never leave children unattended when at the beach or pool.
- Always check ALL safety equipment to be sure that the equipment is functional
- Consider starting your children in swimming lessons before the pool/beach season starts.
- Learn basic CPR and first aid.
- Discourage children from rough housing in or around the pool to prevent falls, head injuries or drownings.
- Make sure that if you have a pool, there is a fence that surrounds all sides of the pool. Make sure that the gates are self-closing and self-latching as well.
- The sun’s rays are strongest from 10a-4pm so it is important to limit sun exposure during these times to prevent sunburn and overheating.
- If a child happens to get burned, resulting in blistering and pain or fever, call your pediatrician.
- If you are worried that your child has become dehydrated after being outside, please don’t hesitate to contact your pediatrician for further guidance.
- Purchase children’s sunglasses with UV protection.
- Children under 6 months should be kept out of direct sunlight.
- Dress infants in cool, lightweight clothing that covers both arms and legs. Use wide-brimmed hats to protect them. Also, it is good to have an umbrella available under which they can sit or lay.
- Be sure to have their formula in a cooler with ice.
- Limit the amount of time that an infant is in the heat, and try to avoid the hottest times of the day.
- Though sunscreen is only approved for use in infants older than 6 months, you may apply a small amount of sunscreen to sun exposed areas of the infant to protect them from sun damage. Use at least SPF 15. Avoid getting it in the eyes or mouth.
- If a child is older than 6 months, try to limit direct sunlight exposure.
- Use wide-brimmed hats to protect the skin.
- Apply sun screen with SPF greater than 15. Apply to the skin about 30 minutes before activity. Avoid getting the sunscreen in the eyes or mouth. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours or after swimming/excessive sweating.
- Be sure that infants and children are resting throughout the day, drinking plenty and staying hydrated.
- When out and about, try to avoid using scented soaps/lotions/products.
- Try to avoid areas where bugs may congregate, especially in areas of stagnant water and near gardens that are blooming.
- If you have any areas of stagnant water around your home, try to eliminate those areas.
- Use kids-safe insect repellant.
- Do NOT use repellants on children younger than 2 months old.
- Only apply insect repellents on the outside of your child’s clothing and on exposed skin. Use just enough repellent to cover your child’s clothing and exposed skin. Using more doesn’t make the repellent more effective. Avoid reapplying unless needed.
- Wash your children’s skin with soap and water to remove any repellent when they return indoors, and wash their clothing before they wear it again.
- Apply products in a well-ventilated area to prevent breathing them in.
- Dress your child in long pants, a lightweight long-sleeved shirt, socks, and closed shoes when you know your child will be exposed to insects. A broad-brimmed hat can help to keep insects away from the face. Mosquito netting may be used over baby carriers or strollers in areas where your baby may be exposed to insects.
- If older than 2 months, you can use 10-30% DEET products.
- Choose the lowest percentage of DEET that is effective. For example, 10% DEET is effective for 2 hours.
- Use caution when applying a DEET-based product.
- Do NOT use products that combine DEET with sunscreen. The DEET may make the sun protection factor (SPF) less effective. These products can overexpose your child to DEET because the sunscreen needs to be reapplied often.
- Alternative repellants that are as effective as DEET-containing products are those that contain PICARIDIN or ESEENTIAL OILS found in plants like citronella, eucalyptus, cedar and soy bean. These are safe to use but may require more frequent reapplication.
- Always wear a helmet! Practice makes perfect, so always wear one no matter the location or distance that you or your child will ride.
- Make sure that when purchasing a helmet that it meets the US Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards.
- Avoid riding bikes or skateboards on busy streets.
- Parents should go over all traffic safety signs and remind children to obey all rules.
- No nighttime riding.
- When you ride, should always wear some reflective gear to help other drivers see you or your child.
- When your child skateboards, they should also wear protective gear which includes a helmet, elbow and knee pads.
- Children should never ride or skate alone. Children under 10 years old, should be monitored at all times.
These are just a few tips to help you get ready for the summer. As always, we recommend that you contact and speak with your pediatrician if you have specific questions about your children.
Have a safe, fun and active summer!!
About the Author
As a pediatrician, Dr. Russell provides quality and comprehensive care to children of all ages and is fluent in both Spanish and English. She works to educate children on health and wellness and has a special interest in treating ADHD, depression and adolescent health concerns. Dr. Russell follows her patients as they grow and develop to become a true health care partner. Schedule an appointment today.