Home & Family
How to Keep your Kids Safe in Summer
5/4/2017 10:20:30 PM

With summer swiftly approaching, you can feel the excitement in the air as your children dream of spending time at the pool or frolicking with friends outdoors without the thought of homework looming over their heads. Before you send them out into the sunshine, consider these tips from Dr. Stephanie Treme of the Children’s Clinic, Lake Charles, to keep your loved ones healthy and safe all summer long.  

Prevent Sunburn

As fun as spending time outdoors is, you want to avoid sunburn. Limit the exposure your little one has to the sun, especially between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. This is the hottest part of the day, so if possible, keep them indoors. What type of sunscreen is the most effective? Dr. Treme recommends a broad spectrum sunscreen that falls into at least the SPF 15 to 30 range. She also suggests covering all areas of exposed skin, including the tops of the ears and any exposed scalp. Apply sunscreen thirty minutes before going outside, and reapply it every two hours. If your child gets sweaty or goes swimming, sunscreen should be reapplied more often. Use sunscreen even on cloudy days. 

Avoid Dehydration

Drinking enough water on hot days or when active is crucial to prevent illnesses such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Children should be given water breaks every 15-20 minutes while playing outdoors. Signs that your child may be getting dehydrated include dizziness, fatigue, or muscle cramps. If you notice pale skin, profuse sweating, nausea, or fainting, immediately move your child to a cool place for rest and rehydration with cold water. If any of these symptoms persist, seek medical evaluation for your child. 

Playground Safety

During the summer months, physicians see an increase of muscular injuries and broken bones in children from playground activity. Teach children the proper way to use playground equipment to help prevent these injuries. Children should go down slides feet first and never stand on swings. Check the temperature of metal objects before allowing children to play, and avoid areas with standing water, which can lead to slip-and-fall injuries. Adults should keep a close eye on children to ensure they use playground equipment properly.

Pool Safety

When children are around any body of water, an adult should be supervising at all times. With younger children and weak swimmers, an adult should physically be in the pool with the child. Flotation devices are helpful, but don’t be overly-confident. They do not prevent all accidents. If you have a pool at your home, consider investing in a locked fence around the pool. Children have been known to let themselves out the back door, or even climb through doggy doors, to get to the pool when parents aren’t watching. Hot tubs should generally be avoided in younger children as they can cause a child to become overheated quickly.

Insect Protection 

In Louisiana, insects are a fact of life, but there are certain concerns when it comes to using repellent on small children. Never use repellent on children younger than two months old. Repellant should be applied only to the outside of clothing and exposed skin. Although it can be sprayed onto arms and legs, it should not be sprayed directly onto the face. This helps prevent your child from inhaling the repellent. Instead, spray into your hands and rub repellent onto their face, carefully avoiding the eyes and the mouth. The most effective type of spray uses DEET with concentrations up to 30%. Bug bites can be treated with Cortisone-10 cream to help with swelling or Benadryl cream to help with itch. Sometimes insect bites can cause significant swelling. See your child’s doctor if the redness spreads, the child develops fever, or there is pain when touching the skin around the bite.

Heatstroke and Hot Vehicles

According to an article published in Pediatrics, 39 children in the U.S. died from heatstroke as a result of being left in hot vehicles in 2016. Dr. Treme urges all parents and caretakers to devise a system to remind yourself that you have a child in the backseat before exiting your vehicle. For example, leave an object in the child’s carseat, and whenever you put your child in the car, transfer the object to your lap. This will help you remember your little one is with you.

Posted by: Lauren Atterbery Cesar | Submit comment | Tell a friend

Categories: Parenting  |  Summer

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