Be colorful – Outdoor activities such as visits to the zoo, playgrounds and festivals can be made safer. Dressing children in the same, bright or unusual colors will make young children easier to quickly spot since they will stand out a bit above the crowd and you train your eye to look for the same color. It is also important for caregivers to know what their children are wearing in case they are separated from you and you need to give a quick description to a store clerk or event volunteer. Reminder, children need to know what color their caregiver is wearing as well.
Drink – Dehydration is a common summer problem. Always travel with plenty of H20 and lead by example; encourage drinking water on a regular basis. Storing melons in a cooler are a tasty way to sneak in some extra liquid as well. Reminder, dehydration headaches commonly affect children and adults this time of year.
Sun Protection – Nobody likes the feeling of sunburn. Making the application of sunscreen (for babies 6 months+) a daily ritual will help prevent sunburns. Prior to getting dressed in the morning, take a moment to liberally apply sunscreen. Sunscreen should be reapplied often and always after swimming. The lotion type of sunscreen with an SPF of 15+, broad spectrum, is best. Should a toddler or preschooler resist, make the application of sunscreen fun by having them stand in front of a mirror and use the sunscreen to make letters or shapes for them to rub in by themselves. Caregivers should check toddlers and preschoolers to ensure that all exposed areas are covered! Remember, backs of knees and ears are the most usual burn spots because of missed lotion. Do not forget those tender lips! Apply a lip balm with sunscreen protection, too. A hat can protect the scalp from sunburn.
Since most of the sun's harmful rays still pass through clouds on overcast days, sun protection should also be used on cloudy days. Since it takes up to 30 minutes for the chemicals in sunscreen to start working, caregivers need to ensure that children have sunscreen on before engaging in outdoor activities. Sand and water surfaces can reflect up to 85 percent of the sun's damaging rays; caregivers should pay special attention when children are playing. Finally, tightly woven fabrics block the sun's rays better than loosely woven fabrics.
Standing Water – Water that collects in pails, plant pots or similar containers is a hazard for younger children. Always empty pails after using them and keep containers turned upside down so rainwater does not collect. Toddlers are top-heavy and curious. They can accidentally topple over, head first, into a pail of water and drown. Make certain any water sources are carefully monitored. Turn off outdoor faucets when not supervised, or secure with a buttoned spigot.
Pool Safety – Pools are exciting; a responsible and observant adult should always supervise Children. Access to any pool, regardless of depth, should be restricted. Remember, “Floaties”
Speaking of “Flotation Devices” – Coast Guard approved floatation devices keep your child from going under the water, keeps their face out of the water and their head upright
Equipment gets hot – Slides, playground equipment, lawn chairs, seat buckles, and similar type of equipment that is in direct sun get hot; children can easily get burned, or minimally get an unpleasant surprise if they come into contact with hot equipment. “Test it before you regret it.”
Ants, Bees and Wasps – Anthills, beehives and wasp nests can be dangerous, especially to curious children that may be unaware that these house insects that can sting and itch. Caregivers should periodically check for and remove these “houses” when children are not watching; children should not gain false security in removing “houses” themselves.
Bugs – Bug sprays that are available in wipe form are perfect for little ones annoyed by bug sprays or cannot keep their eyes closed for the application. Physicians can advise about DEET and what ages your children can use the repellant. It is recommended that very young toddlers only use repellant with minimal amounts (under 12 - 15%) of DEET.
Save the Day – Nobody plans for an outing to be cut short due to a small injury. Develop a small First Aid Kit to keep in your stroller, car or bike sack so that small injuries that can be easily cared for do not serve as a reason to cut the day short. Useful First Aid items to include in your kit: hand disinfectant, band aids, aloe lotion, tweezers, antiseptic, pen and paper, copy of insurance card, rubber bands, wet wipes, extra sunscreen and a few insect repellant wipes.
Street Savvy - Even if you live on a safe, lazy street, review sidewalk and alley safety and driveway knowledge with your child. Consider that your child may be visiting a friend who lives on a busier street.
Recheck the size, fit and structure of all helmets, and make certain that when using any equipment with wheels, a helmet is properly worn. A helmet involved in a serious fall or accident should likely be replaced. Secure helmet straps and check fit throughout the summer as children grow quickly.
Stay in Well Ventilated Ares – Remember, enclosed areas get hot, stifling and sometimes quite dangerous. Never leave children alone in a car. Not only should a child never be left alone, but standing vehicles can be dangerous. The heat in a car can rise above safe limits in a manner of minutes. In addition to lack of oxygen and sun burning through the glass, a child may die if left in a car for long. Even if there is a slight crack in the windows, a stationary car can rise to unsafe limits in a manner of minutes. Other enclosed areas are equally stifling and cause a child to become dizzy, lethargic, or ill.
Make Certain – It is important that children know their full name, phone number, and address (this will not work for the really young ones). If possible have them memorize the cell or work number of a parent or family friend, or minimally a parent’s first and last name.
Summer is one of our greatest assets. Make certain your greatest assets enjoy it safely by taking a bit of precaution as the season gets into full swing!
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