Longer days means children are ready to run faster and play harder. As you see them race out the door do you feel a need to protect them from everything that could and would potentially go wrong?
Parents have many outlying factors to consider; such as, childcare coordination, road safety, environmental exposure etc. It’s a fact that the spring and summer seasons call for extra preparation in order for young children to have an endless supply of fun.
Here are some tips to assure safety for the whole family:
1. Be Sun Savvy:
Spring sting. We know that a person exposed to excessive sunlight has an increased risk of melanoma and sun stroke. Here are some common ways to prevent increasing your child’s risk.
Apply sunscreen early and repeat throughout the day. Kids 6 months and older should have at least 15 SPF or higher and it should be re-applied every 15-30 minutes to decrease the likelihood of excessive sun exposure. Parents can also opt for protective covering, clothing, and shades to shield from harmful sun rays.
Keep infants out of the sun: Infants younger than 6 months should be shielded from direct sunlight because of their sensitivity to outdoor environments. They have a high risk of overexposure.
Beware of shade: Staying in the shade can give us a false sense of security. The shady areas may provide heat relief, but the scattered sun rays can still cause sunburns in just as much time as being fully exposed.
2. Water Rules:
Drowning can happen quickly and quietly. This is the leading cause of unintentional death in kids ages 1-4 years old. Below are helpful tips to keep water play safe this season:
Stay free of distraction. Don’t allow yourself to be inattentive while your children swim or play in the water. Do not turn your back on your children or get distracted with your cell phone. Drowning can happen in minutes. Note: children should never be left alone or left without adult supervision near or around pools of water regardless of depth.
Get trained. Adults, babysitters, and caregivers should become Infant/Child CPR certified.
3. Beware of the bugs:
Creepy crawlers and blood sucking insects are very much a part of warm weather, day and night. Here are some suggestions to keep your spring and summer insect free:
Spray and repeat: Parents should apply insect repellent to the exposed skin of children. Do not forget to re-apply when necessary in order to keep from being bitten.
Watch for allergies: Kids can be prone to allergens of the environment and/or be allergic to certain bug bites. Being aware and using an allergy medicine can ensure your child’s enjoyment of outdoor play and extend their overall health.
4. Prevent Dehydration:
Sun stroke can be sneaky. Your child may become dehydrated before there are any outward signs. Children need to drink water often when in the sun. Juice and soft drinks should be offered minimally, if not at all.
Children should drink 12oz of water 30 minutes before outdoor activities begin, and take water breaks every 20 minutes continually thereafter.
Tip: A child’s gulp equals a half-ounce of fluid, averaged, therefore your child should drink 10 gulps for every 20 minutes of play.
Watch for warning signs of dehydration such as excessive thirst, dry/sticky mouth, headache, irritability, fatigue, dizziness, and/or changes in behavior.
5. Heads Up:
Put a lid on it! Kids should always wear proper fitting head gear when biking, skateboarding, rollerblading, etc. It’s important for you, the parent, to model proper safety practices for your child. Take a family trip to choose the color and style of helmets. This can be a fun way to encourage head gear safety, but don’t forget to fasten that chin strap!
Hats are also important in the summer months. Wearing a hat can help keep your child’s body temperature down.
6. Never Wait in a Hot Car:
Look twice! It only takes 10 minutes for a car’s inside temperature to increase 20+ degrees. We have all heard the stories of a small child or pet being left to wait in a car, whether it be a “quick-run-in” or because “they’re sleeping”. This is unsafe, negligent and potentially fatal. Children are at a greater risk because their body temperature heats up at a high rate, 5x more than an adult! A cracked window will not keep your child safe from injury in the heat of the summer.
Here are some great seasonal supplies to have stowed away for a safe Spring and Summer:
· Cell phone
· Antibiotic cream
· Crushable icepacks
· Sun protectant
· Insect repellent
Now is the time to enjoy the longer days and fill them with laughter, memories and fun for all. Sometimes those bug bites and knee scrapes are a worthy exchange. Use these tips to prevent worry and keep your family safe this season!