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Summer Safety Tips for Children

Many children look forward to summer as they get a break from school, enjoy more opportunities to play outside, and experience adventures and other fun activities that come with the warm weather! As parents though, it's important to prioritize safety alongside the excitement. Below are tips to keep in mind as we enter the hot season.

1. Sun Protection:

To protect your children from the sun's harmful UV rays, limit their exposure from direct sunlight. Babies under 6 months should be kept under the shade whenever possible, i.e. under an umbrella or the canopy of their stroller. When children are outside during the daytime, make sure they use a liberal amount of sunscreen on any areas of the skin not covered by clothing. Try to apply the sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outside so that there's ample time for it to absorb. Sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating. The most effective sunscreen to use is one with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 and a "broad-spectrum" label. It is also important that kids wear sunglasses with 99% UV protection to keep their eyes safe from the sun.

2. Drowning Prevention

If your child hasn't already, consider signing them up for swimming lessons with a certified instructor. Taking a swimming class is one of the best ways to prevent drowning as children will learn water survival skills, including how to float and how to return to the surface from underwater. Whenever your child is learning how to swim, there should be lifeguards around. And whenever your child is in the pool or water, there should always be a supervising adult close by. If your child doesn't know how to swim yet or they are still learning, make sure they have a life jacket on. The same is true when participating in any boating activities or even if they're just near water. 

3. Bug Safety

Insect bites tend to occur more often during the summer and can be irritating and even painful. Avoid using scented soaps and fragrances as these can attract bugs. When your child goes outside to play, especially with their skin exposed, use an insect repellent that has been registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and that contains DEET, which is the most effective insect repellent on the market.  DEET concentrations start as low as 5% and you should use the lowest concentration of DEET that works for your child. Repellents that contain higher concentration of DEET provide longer protection, but the amount should not exceed 30%. 

4. Extreme Heat

Some days during the summer can get too hot, especially if there's a heat wave. When the temperature surpasses 90°F, there's an increased risk for dehydration, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke. During extremely hot days, keep kids indoors where it's air conditioned and dress them in loose, lightweight, and light-colored clothing. You may also want to use ice packs or give your child a cool bath if they seem overheated. It is crucial to never leave a child in a parked car, even if the windows are open and even for just a few minutes. The inside of a car can become dangerously and fatally hot quickly. 

5. Play Safety

If your kids are playing on a playground, make sure it's stable and safe. There should be no loose or open hooks and bolts as these can cause injuries. Don't allow your child to attach any rope, leash, or similar items to the playground equipment to avoid accidental strangulation. As falls can happen, playgrounds should have safety-tested mats or shredded materials like rubber, sand, or wood chips. Children should always be supervised when playing on the playground. If your child is rollerblading, skateboarding, or riding a scooter or bike, they should always be wearing a helmet and knee pads to prevent serious injuries.  We’ve had 2 children in our practice suffer serious brain trauma in the past year who were not wearing helmets and no one thinks it’s going to happen to them…

If you have any concerns about your child's health and safety during the summer, call our office. If there's a serious or life-threatening issue, call 911 right away.

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