In Helpful Tips, Uncategorized

Keeping Kids Safe in the Summer

Summer is meant to be a happy time for children – they can participate in camp, have fun during outdoor activities, spend time with friends, and travel with their family. However, increased heat, daylight hours, and activity level make child’s safety even more crucial. In fact, 40% of all childhood injury-related emergency room visits occur during the summer months (May through August). The following tips can help parents keep their children safe while still having a fun and exciting summer!

Sun-related Issues

Several major health issues stem from prolonged exposure to the heat and sunlight. Heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and dehydration are a few examples of the damaging effects that the hot summer heat can have if children are not properly prepared.

Prevention Tips:

  • Apply sunscreen daily, even if it is cloudy
  • An SPF of at least 30 is highly recommended
  • Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors
  • Apply sunscreen before bug spray
  • Dress kids in loose-fitting clothing
  • Plan activities for morning or evening hours – it’s cooler!
  • Drink lots of water and/or sports drinks with electrolytes – watch out for sugary beverages
  • Popsicles! If your child isn’t drinking enough, try giving them a healthy, low-sugar frozen treat
  • Take breaks – alternate between being indoors and outdoors
  • Have your children wear sunglasses and hats with wide brims

Insect-Related Issues

Warm summer months bring out pests such as mosquitoes and ticks. Mosquitoes are particularly prevalent near stagnant bodies of water, while ticks reside in wooded or grassy areas. Although ticks cannot jump or fly, they readily attach to bare feet, ankles, and legs while youngsters are playing in the yard.

Prevention Tips:

  • Watch for levels of DEET (a chemical which scares off bugs) in bug spray – should be between 10-30%
  • Wear long sleeves, pants, and socks
  • Lighter-colored clothing and shoes are better to wear to see a tick
  • Do a tick check every night – its possible to contract a tick-borne illness in 36 hours!

For more information on ticks, visit:

http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/avoid/on_people.html

Water Safety

The summer is the perfect time to take advantage of backyard pools and nearby beaches. However, accidents do occur near large and small bodies of water, particularly when children are left unattended. Here are some easy tips to keep your child safe while still having fun.

Prevention Tips:

  • Never leave kids alone near pools or any body of water regardless of age or swimming capabilities – adult supervision is a must
  • Gates around pools (5ft high) can prevent 50-90% of drowning
  • Take younger children on bathroom breaks every 60 minutes and/or check their diapers every 30-60 minutes
  • Make sure chlorine levels are up to code if you have a pool at your home
  • Reapply sunscreen every hour
  • When boating or on the water, always use a life jacket that corresponds with the child’s weight.
    • Have your child use his or her arms to make the ‘touchdown’ signal. If the straps touch the child’s ears, it is too big.

For more information on boating safety, visit: www.safekids.org/tip/boating-safety-tips

Play Safety

Playgrounds offer valuable opportunities for fine and large motor and muscle development, while giving children opportunities for socialization. Supervision while at play is a necessity as emergency room visits due to playground and biking-related injuries escalates during the summer months. Here are some tips to make sure your child stays safe.

Prevention Tips:

  • Check playground equipment prior to kids playing on it to ensure that it is not too hot
  • Ground covering should be rubber mats, wood, or chips but not grass or concrete
  • Make sure child has appropriate closed-toe shoes and clothing
  • ALWAYS wear a helmet when on a bike, scooter, skateboard, or ATV – knee and elbow pads are also advised
  • Make sure your child is being spotted if on the monkey bars

Hazard Safety

Barbecues and fireworks are a great tradition on the Fourth of July, but it is always important to be conscious of the safety hazards.

Prevention Tips:

  • Keep children away from fireworks and sparklers – use glow sticks instead!
  • Always watch children around bonfires and hot grills
  • Keep food refrigerated and out of the heat – never let it sit for more than two hours

For more information, check out the following websites:

http://health.howstuffworks.com/pregnancy-and-parenting/10-summer-safety-tips-for-kids.htm

www.cdc.gov/features/kidssafety/

www.cdc.gov/family/kids/summer

www.pediatrics.about.com/od/summersafety/

The New Canaan CARES website has a dedicated Resource tab with current health and safety information for all ages. Check it out regularly!

By: Lauren Ioli, New Canaan CARES Intern ‘