It’s finally flip flop weather and that means more outdoor activities, warmer temperatures, and summer fun. Now is the perfect time to go over safety tips with the entire family so they know how to protect themselves from too much sun, bug bites and more. Children of all ages can benefit from a summer safety conversation to kick off the best summer yet!
Sunscreen safety. Actions speak louder than words when, as parents, you use sunscreen regularly. Your children will likely not resist the application of sunscreen before an afternoon at the pool when they see you are also being cautious. Help younger children apply sunscreen, and eventually teach them how to do it themselves, with supervision. Generally speaking, use generous amounts of UVA and UVB blocking sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, reapplying every two hours. Long day outside on the water or beach? UV protective clothing, hats and sunglasses will prevent too much sun exposure and also ensures you’ll be able to enjoy the next beautiful day without a sunburn!
Keep bugs at bay. There are some repellents made with DEET, which can be toxic when consumed. If you do decide to use DEET, make sure to get it washed off your hands especially before bedtime to prevent any overexposure. Doctors recommend a 30% DEET concentration to prevent viruses like West Nile. There are other options available, however. Talk to your Association of Childcare Physician; they’d be happy to suggest DEET alternatives. It’s important to know that just because some insect repellents are listed as “natural”, doesn’t necessarily mean they are safe. Wearing long sleeves, avoiding play by stagnant pools of water, and the avoidance of perfumed soap will help keep those bugs from biting you or your loved ones.
Food safety in the summer heat. Bacteria grows faster in hotter temperatures and humidity. With outdoor picnics and cook-outs, food is being prepared and eaten outside, sometimes being left in the warmer temperatures longer than it should be. Additionally, the ability to find a place to wash your hands before that summer feast may be hard to find. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before eating if you can’t find a sink with soap and don’t cross-contaminate your food by re-using utensils or plates that may have been exposed to uncooked food at your summer campsite.
Other tips, like drinking enough water when in the outdoor heat, wearing safety helmets when biking around town or on the bike trail, and safeguarding home playgrounds to ensure safe, summer fun are topics the entire family should discuss. Own a trampoline in your backyard or know of one in the neighborhood? Everyday Health offers some handy tips to keep your kids safe while jumping at https://www.everydayhealth.com/kids-health/5-tips-for-trampoline-safety.aspx.
If you would like to learn more about keeping your children safe this summer, please contact the Association of Childcare Physicians by calling (618) 235-2311 or by visiting our website. Dr. Kellow and Dr. Shaw want your children to stay healthy and safe, enjoying the summer months and making memories that will last a lifetime.