It’s just about summer time again. That means the kids are out of school and ready to run! The job of a parent is to do everything possible to keep your child safe during these summer months. They not only will be outside more often, they will be swimming, playing outside in a sky filled with insects, and be subjected to the sun’s bright rays.
What can you, as a parent, do to help keep your child safe this summer? This article will share tips and information on how to do just that.
Use Sunscreen: A sunscreen is essential to keeping your child safe while outside during the summer. A SPF of 30 or higher is recommended for children. It is essential to apply sunscreen to your child around 30 minutes before heading outside. Sunscreen will protect your child from the sun’s harmful rays, thus shielding your child from a possible future of skin cancer. If you are worried that the sunscreen you are applying isn’t being spread to reach every part of the child’s exposed skin, purchase the sunscreen that is colored. This way you can see where the sunscreen is applied as you go. It is important to remember to apply liberally over face, ears, and the front and back of the neck. These areas are often forgotten. No one wants to see their child with a blistering sunburn, or subject their child to a possible future of skin cancer. Applying sunscreen can help to keep your child safe from these things. Please remember, if your child is swimming, apply a sunscreen that won’t come off in the water. Reapply sunscreen every three hours to ensure the best possible protection for your child.
Safety When Swimming: If you are the parent of an infant or a toddler who isn’t potty trained, it is recommended that you have your child wear a swim diaper when swimming in a public pool, or even in a home pool for that matter. A regular diaper will not absorb as well as a swim diaper, and potentially harmful e-coli bacteria could be released into the pool, causing illness in your child or others.
If your child does not know how to swim, please ensure your child’s safety by always being within arms reach of him or her. Better yet, make sure your child wears a life jacket. Children have been known to drown even when an adult is present. If you are boating with your child, then a life jacket is a necessity, no arguments allowed. Using arm floaties, or a swimsuit with a built in flotation device, are not enough to keep a child afloat. Life jackets are the best way to keep your child safe while swimming.
Insect Repellents: Your children will be outside playing, if allowed, from dawn until dusk. Besides always wearing a sunscreen, he or she will need an insect repellent. While outside, most children are often bit by mosquitoes, gnats, chiggers and ticks. The proper insect repellent can help your child to avoid these types of itchy bites, and to help protect your child from a disease-carrying insect. Insect repellents with deet are the best type of repellent to use with children. Deet is typically safe if the product has less than 10-30 percent deet in it. If a parent is nervous about applying deet to their child’s skin, they may apply it to the clothing on the child rather than the skin directly. Deet isn’t safe in an infant under two months in age. Remember, the concentration of deet in a skin repellent only pertains to how long the repellent will last before wearing off. If a 10 percent concentration of deet is applied, then it will last around two hours before needing reapplication. If a 20 percent concentration is applied, it will last around five hours before needing reapplication. There are many experts that recommend that deet be only applied once a day, especially on children. The repellent should be applied to all exposed areas of skin. Please remember to wash off insect repellent as soon as possible when returning indoors.
Keeping Cool in the Heat: If your child must be outdoors in extreme heat, please remember these tips to help keep your child safe, and hopefully, free from heat-related illnesses. First, intense activities should be limited to 15 minutes, if possible. Make sure that before embarking on any prolonged activities outside, your child is well hydrated. During the child’s stay outside, make sure your child is taking drink breaks every 20 minutes. Try having your child drink anywhere from 5-10 ounces of water or a sports drink, even if he or she does not feel thirsty.
Bike Safety: Children ride bikes more in the summer than during any other season. Therefore, it is essential that your child follow some basic bike safety rules. After all, the rules weren’t developed for no reason, they were developed to keep children safe while biking. First, always wear a properly fitted helmet. It doesn’t matter if your child is just riding his or her bike down your driveway, he or she needs a helmet every single time they get on a bike. Helmets help protect children’s fragile brains from falls off bikes. It only takes one fall without a helmet to lead to possible brain trauma for your child. Why risk it? Make sure that the child’s helmet is worn correctly and meets the CPSC safety standards.
Another important safety issue during bike season is teaching children safe places to ride: how to ride safely in the street, sidewalk and even the driveway of your home. Children need to be taught, and need to be reminded after learning, that you should never ride your bike out into the street without first looking for cars. Never ride your bike out into the street from behind a parked car, or from in between two parked cars. An oncoming driver may not see your child due to an obstructed view. Remind your child if he or she is old enough to ride in traffic, that when riding your bike, you always go the direction the traffic is going. Many of these tips are common knowledge to children, but it never hurts to remind them, and it never hurts to start teaching them to even the youngest biker.
Summer is a fun time for most children. There is no school, no homework, and no getting up early. Summer should be a great time for all children to enjoy the outdoors, play with his or her friends, go swimming, and go bike riding. Remembering these basic summer safety tips can help keep your child from the unfortunate sunburn, pesky bug bites, and perhaps even save his or her life.