The kids are out of school, and they’re raring to go. Before they get started on their summer adventures, check out these summer safety tips.
Summer naturally brings with it a few safety hazards — high temperatures, time spent near water and lots of sunshine. You can’t wrap your kids in bubble wrap to help them avoid injuries and illness, but you can take a few steps to increase the odds of a healthy summer.
- Beat the heat. Temperatures hovering in the 80s and 90s, combined with high humidity levels, put kids at risk of heat-related illnesses. When it’s hot outside, your family should drink fluids throughout the day to stay well-hydrated. Remind kids to drink even if they don’t feel thirsty.
Limit outdoor activity between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are hottest. When it’s particularly hot, choose indoor activities. Head to the library, the mall or one of our local attractions for a cool adventure.
Kids should never be left in a parked car in the heat. It only takes minutes in the southern heat for the body to dangerously overheat.
Know the signs of heat-related illness, and seek medical care if your kids experience any symptoms.
- Stay water-safe. Kids should never be near water without adult supervision. With children age 5 and younger, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends “touch supervision,” which means an adult should be within an arm’s length of each child when in or around water.
The AAP also recommends that pools be enclosed in a locked fence at least 4-feet high on all sides.
Floaties and other inflatables shouldn’t be considered safety measures. For added protection around water, choose an approved life jacket that fits your child appropriately — it shouldn’t be loose and all straps should be belted.
Teach your kids never to dive into water without asking an adult’s permission first. This is particularly important when swimming in open water, where the depth of the water may be unknown.
- Slather on the sunscreen. At least 15 minutes before going outdoors, apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 on all exposed skin. Don’t forget the ears, nose and feet! Once outdoors, reapply sunscreen at least every two hours — more frequently if swimming or sweating.
Not sure what kind of sunscreen to choose? Select one that’s SPF 30 or higher and labeled as broad spectrum, which means it protects the body from both ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays, and water-resistant.
How much you apply is more important than the brand of sunscreen you select. All exposed skin should be covered with a generous coat of sunscreen. You should apply 1 ounce of sunscreen, which is approximately two tablespoons full.
Be sure to also apply a lip balm with SPF 30 to protect your kids’ lips. A broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses can round out their sun-safe apparel.
If you experience an emergency this summer, Children’s Hospital at Erlanger offers specialized pediatric emergency care designed just for kids.