Summer is a time for fun, but there are also hazards to health and safety. Keep your family safe this summer by following these tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Sunburn: Limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The best line of defense against the sun is to cover up. Wear a hat with a three-inch brim or a bill facing forward; wear sunglasses that block ultraviolet rays; and wear cotton clothing with a tight weave. Use sunscreen lotion with a Sun Protection Factor of at least 15 on exposed skin. Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside even on cloudy days. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.
Heat Stress: The intensity and duration of activity should be limited during extreme heat and humidity. Before prolonged physical activity, children should be well-hydrated. During the activity, periodic drinking should be enforced even if the child does not feel thirsty. For every 20 minutes, a child weighing 90 pounds should drink five ounces of cold tap water or a flavored sports drink; an adolescent weighing 130 pounds should drink nine ounces. Clothing should be light-colored and lightweight, absorbent material to facilitate evaporation of sweat.
Pool Safety: Never leave children alone in or near the pool, even for a minute. Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as “floaties” because they can give parents and children a false sense of security. Adults should always be within arm’s length of infants and toddlers, providing “touch supervision.” Children may not be developmentally ready for swim lessons until after their fourth birthday. Swim programs for children under four should not be seen as a way to decrease the risk of drowning.
Bug Safety: Avoid or limit the itch and pain of bites and stings. Do not use scented soaps, perfumes or hair sprays on your child. Avoid areas where insects nest or congregate, such as stagnant pools of water and gardens where flowers are in bloom. Avoid dressing children in clothing with bright colors or flowery prints. Insect repellents containing DEET are most effective against ticks and mosquitoes, and can prevent Lyme Disease. However, combination sunscreen/insect repellent products should be avoided because sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours, but the insect repellent should not be reapplied.
Fireworks: Sparklers burn at more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit and can easily ignite clothing. Parents should always supervise children using sparklers, and a bucket of water, a hose, or a fire extinguisher should be kept nearby. The most common injuries due to fireworks are burns to the eyes, face, and hands. Give children noise makers as a substitute for firecrackers.