Summer Safety – Keeping your children safe and well during summer adventures

Summer is a time fun and adventure.  It is a time of family vacations and exploring our neighborhood parks and recreational areas.  We encourage kids to get out and play as much as possible.  And we want to keep our kids as safe and healthy as possible while they do so!  Here is information on how keep your child safe and well during summer adventures.

Preventing Sun Damage

During the summer we tend to be in the sun for long periods of time.  Sunburn is not only painful and uncomfortable in the short term, studies show that sunburns in childhood have been shown increase the risk of skin cancer in adulthood.  If your child will be outside for longer than 15-30 minutes, apply a safe sunscreen that provides UVA and UVB protection – and reapply at least every 2 hours.  The Environmental Working Group has a Guide to Sunscreens to help you choose one that will work for your family.  Clothing and hats can be a good option for skin protection as well.  Do not use sunscreen on babies younger than 6 months.  Keep babies in a shaded area and use clothing and hats to protect skin when in sun.

Prevent Tick-borne illness

Ticks and other insects carry illnesses that can make your child sick. Use a safe and effective insect repellent on your child’s skin and clothing.  Current recommendations encourage DEET containing products but many providers and parents are concerned that the DEET can be absorbed in the skin and lead to toxicity.  If you choose to use these products, apply them to your child’s clothing before wearing and allow them to dry completely to reduce the amount that is absorbed.
If you prefer non-DEET containing products, here are some recommendations:
  • Nature’s Cloak Mosquito, Tick, and Insect Repellent
  • Badger Bug Repellants
  • Fedorenko’s Bug Stick.
Wear light-colored long sleeves and pants with shirt tucked into pants and pants tucked into socks to provide a barrier to ticks – they like to burrow to warm, vascular areas.  Encourage your family to walk in the middle of paths. Upon returning from your adventure, put all clothing in hot dryer for at least 30 minutes and to a tick check.  If you find a tick, remove it [You may wish to purchase Tick Ease Tweezers ]. For peace of mind, you may wish to send the tick for testing to ensure it does not carry a disease that would cause illness.   For additional information, including what to monitor your child for following a tick bite – read here .

Prevent Head Injuries

Your child can fall off a bike/scooter/skateboard/skates at any time.  Teach your child to wear a helmet ALWAYS when using these wheeled devices.  Make sure the helmet is worn appropriately.  A helmet should be worn squarely on top of the head, covering the top of the forehead. If it is tipped back, it will not protect the forehead. The helmet fits well if it doesn’t move around on the head or slide down over the wearer’s eyes when pushed or pulled. The chin strap should be adjusted to fit snugly.  Read more here.

Prevent Drowning

Teach your child water safety and how to swim from an early age.   An adult, preferably one trained in CPR, should be fully present and available anytime your child is near a pool, spa, or body of water – even if they are good swimmers.  Read more here for pool safety, boating safety, and open water safety.

If you would like further reading, read this blog from HealthyChildren.org.  Wishing your family a fun, safe, healthy rest of the summer!