Summer is here, which means school is out and kids are ready for fun in the sun. With the right rules and preparations in place, summertime can be an enjoyable and safe time for you and your children. Keep your kids healthy and safe in the summer with these 9 tips:
1. Use Sunscreen
Sunburns can raise your child’s risk for skin cancer down the line, so practice sun safety. Avoid sun exposure between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. by staying in a shady area or indoors. Babies should wear hats and stay in the shade, and infants older than 6 months can wear sunscreen if they have some sun exposure. Be sure to use a sunscreen with 30 SPF or higher that provides both UVA and UVB protection. Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapply it every couple of hours. Even if it’s cloudy outside, sunscreen is always necessary.
2. Keep Them Cool
Children, especially infants, are vulnerable to heat exhaustion, heat stroke and heat-related illness in summer temperatures. Dress your kids in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Keep them cool with cold water sprays, fans, shade, and air conditioning. If you notice symptoms like fatigue, muscle cramping, extreme thirst, dizziness, nausea or a lack of sweat in the heat, take immediate action to get your child in a cooled area and make sure they’re hydrated.
3. Protect Against Mosquitos, Bees, And Other Pests
Apply bug spray over the top of sunscreen to ward off pests. Bees are attracted to flowers, so avoid dressing your children in floral-patterned clothing. Don’t leave out open containers of food or drinks, and change your child’s clothes if they have food or drink stains. If a bee lands on or your child, gently blow on the bee to ward it away. Check your children for ticks after they’ve played outside so you can remove any if found.
4. Avoid Poisonous Plants
Familiarize yourself with common poisonous plants in your area so that you can identify them when your family is outdoors. Poison ivy is a leafy vine or shrub found in the grass and on trees. Poison oak grows only as a shrub, and poison sumac is a small tree in wooded areas.
5. Practice Pool Safety
According to the American Pediatrics Association, drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death in children ages one through four. However, drowning can be prevented when you follow safety rules. If you have a pool at home, install a four-sided fence around it with a child safety lock. Supervise children of any age when they’re in or around a pool, and teach children 6 and older how to swim. Babies, toddlers, and children who can’t swim should always be at your arm’s length when in the water. Don’t let your children run around the pool or jump into it on the shallow end.
6. Keep Them Hydrated
When children are busy playing outside, they often forget to drink water even if they’re dehydrated. Your child should drink water before they go outside to play, and take a water break while playing about every 20 minutes to stay hydrated. Thirst is a sign of dehydration, so try to keep them ahead of it.
7. Supervise Outdoor Play
Place child safety locks on all your doors to ensure they can’t unlock them and go outside. Always supervise outdoor play in the backyard or on playgrounds, as injuries can happen. Trampolines are a common cause of outdoor injuries, so practice safety measures. Only one child should be on a trampoline at a time, and they shouldn’t do somersaults on them. Children should be six or older to use a full-sized trampoline.
8. Use Helmets and Padding
Have your children wear helmets, knee pads, and elbow pads whenever using anything on wheels, whether it’s a scooter, bike or rollerblades. These go a long way in preventing serious injuries, so your children can keep playing and prevent hospital trips.
9. Keep a First Aid Kit on Hand
You can’t prevent all accidents, but you can be prepared for them. Create a first aid kit to keep with you at all times, whether you’re going to the park or playing in the backyard. It should include bandaids of different shapes and sizes, tweezers, oral and topical antihistamine, a thermometer, skin rash cream, antiseptic cream, cream for insect bites, gauze, tape and children’s Tylenol. Make sure everyone in your family knows what’s in the first aid kit and what the different items inside it are for. It may help to have a first aid instruction booklet in your first aid kit.
Get Expert Advice on Summertime Safety from Your Child’s Pediatrician
If you have safety questions for pediatric experts, book your child an appointment at the P.A.D. Plano or Dallas location. Our top-expert pediatricians with outstanding credentials and extensive experience are happy to answer your questions and provide additional safety tips to keep your children healthy and safe all summer long.