Summer is almost here! Playing outside, riding bikes, trips to the playground, beach, and/or pool should be fun and not cause for stress or worry! To keep your summer fun and safe, here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics worth sharing.
They are everywhere! Ticks, mosquitoes, black flies, wasps/bees- UGH! Avoiding them can be tricky but avoiding areas where they may be—such as stagnant pools of water, tall grassy areas near woods, and not being out in the early morning and early evening can limit our exposure. Not using scented soaps, perfumes, and hair sprays on your child and not dressing them with bright colors can limit bugs from being attracted to your kids. DEET containing bug repellent products can be used on children older than 2 months of age—including up to 30% DEET. 30% DEET protects for a longer period of time (5hr) than 10% DEET (2hr). DEET is safe as long as it is not put in the mouth or eyes and washed off when your child comes inside. It can protect your child from not only mosquito bites but ticks as well. Ticks can carry Lyme disease and mosquitoes can carry infections like Wet Nile, Dengue Fever and EEE. Never use the combined bug and sun products—as sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours, but bug repellents should not.
To prevent a trip to the Emergency Department, ensuring the playground is safe is a must!
- Ideally, the playground area should have at least 9-inches of sand or wood chips/bark or 6-inches of shredded rubber underneath the equipment and 6 ft in all directions around the equipment.
- Check for protruding bolts/nails or open “S” hooks which can lead to injuries.
- Make sure your child cannot reach any moving part that might pinch or trap any body part.
- Check to make sure the slide or bars or seats are not too hot—this can cause burns.
- NEVER attach ropes, jump ropes, leashes or other similar items to playground equipment—children can get rope burns or strangle themselves.
- Make sure your child wears shoes to prevent tripping or injuries to their feet!
- ALWAYS supervise your child.
- Many injuries occur when children play on a trampoline—if you have one ensure only one child jumps at a time and that the trampoline is enclosed.
Always make sure your child—at any age and any place—wears a helmet! A helmet should have a sticker that says it meets the CPSC safety standard and fit properly—it should be snug on the head and worn level on the head to cover the forehead and not tipped backwards or forwards. The strap should be fastened with about 2 fingers able to fit between the chin and the strap. AND, if your child does fall and the helmet hits the ground, it needs to be replaced. Also the bike should fit the child—an over-sized bike can be dangerous and lead to injuries.
Skateboard, Scooter, Heelys Safety
Not only are helmets (that meet ASTM safety standards) needed but so are protective wrist, elbow, and knee pads. Children should use skateboarding parks and avoid riding in streets or using homemade ramps and jumps. Also, ensure your child rides alone on the skateboard/scooter/heelys and is not being pulled by someone—this can lead to falls and broken bones!
Can be beautiful to see, but can result in severe burns and scars—even sparklers! It is best to attend community firework displays run by professionals and NOT use fireworks at home.
Always ensure your child has sunscreen (even on cloudy days!) with an SPF 15 or greater that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. It should be applied liberally and reapplied every 2 hours OR after swimming or sweating. Eyes can also be “sunburned” so wearing sunglasses that protect against UVA and UBV rays—especially if at the beach or if your child is very light skinned- is a must!
NEVER leave your child alone near water (any pool, spa, beach, river, pond)—not even for a moment. NO ONE should swim alone—not even an experienced older teen. Inflatable swimming aids are not safe and should not be used as a substitute for an approved life vest. Swim lessons can help, but do not make your child “drown-proof”. If you have a pool of any kind, check out www.poolsafely.gov for tips to keep you and your child safe while enjoying the pool! If you go to a beach or public pool, never let your child swim unless there is a lifeguard (or an adult who knows about water rescue) present. For more water safety tips, visit www.healthychildren.org.