Healthy Living

Fun in the Sun: Summer Safety Tips

Jul 5 2019

Have fun in the sun with these summer safety tips!

Summer is the prime time of year to take in some extra fresh air and Vitamin D. However, it’s also a prime time for kids to experience colds, vomiting, diarrhea, hand-foot-and-mouth disease, allergies and asthma flare-ups. With more kids playing outdoors, there is also a higher risk for unintended accidents.

Helen Nichols, a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Mercy Health – Spring Valley Pediatrics in Holland, Ohio, advises that everyone, especially parents, to follow these summer safety tips to decrease the chances of illness and injury this summer.

Encourage handwashing

Handwashing is a simple way to reduce the spreading of bacteria and the likelihood for illness. A healthy habit like this can make all the difference when it comes to killing germs. Have children wash their hands after playing outside, after sneezing or coughing, after using the restroom as well as before and after eating.

Promote sun safety

Remaining in the shade during the sun’s peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. can help prevent skin cancer. Ultraviolet (UV) rays exist in sunlight and are associated with most skin cancer diagnoses.

You can also reduce your risk by applying sunscreen with a minimum SPF (sun protection factor) of 15. Sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before going outside and reapplied every two hours. Wearing protective clothing, like wide brimmed hats and sunglasses, is great for summer safety as well.

“Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration – and keep in mind that thirst is actually a late sign of dehydration,” Nichols said.

Keep a close watch around water

In 2017, the CDC reported that unintentional accidents, like drowning, are the leading cause of death in children. Parents should keep a close eye on children not only at a pool or lake, but also in the bathtub and around water-filled buckets, in which infants and toddlers have been known to drown.

“Parents should learn how to perform CPR, so they can provide immediate assistance in the event of a near-drowning accident,” said Nichols.

Also, take your kids to the local pool to receive swimming lessons! It duels as a fun activity and a way to teach them how to swim properly.

Enjoy public firework displays

Emphasis on the word “public” with summer safety in mind.

“Fireworks can cause very serious, even life-threatening, injuries. Even sparklers can cause severe burns. Leave the firework displays to the professionals and enjoy them as a spectator only,” said Nichols.

Don’t let the bugs bite

With the rainy spring we had, it is likely this year will be a tough mosquito season. In addition, the tick population in our area has been on the upswing. To prevent bug bites, Nichols recommends applying a bug repellent that contains DEET.

“Products that contain 10% to 30% DEET are safe to use on kids aged two months and older,” said Nichols.

Arm them against injury

Wearing helmets and other appropriate safety equipment is critical when riding bikes, skateboarding, rollerblading or participating in any similar activity. Helmets should not shift around on the child’s head and should cover the forehead. The helmet strap should also fasten securely with two fingers inserted between the strap and chin.

Parents should take their child to the emergency room for treatment of any serious or life-threatening condition such as a head injury, a broken/deformed bone, difficulty breathing, a severe burn, or any condition requiring significant pain control (beyond over-the-counter medications) or IV fluids.

Keep a first-aid kit handy

“We recognize that illnesses and injuries are never planned and that it’s easy for busy parents to get behind on routine care,” said Nichols.

Keeping a fully stocked first-aid kit allows parents to provide immediate care for minor injuries, like scrapes and cuts. In addition, for kids with asthma or severe allergies, a rescue inhaler and/or EpiPen should always be available.

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