Yes, this is summer. Great time that makes kids run faster and play harder. And like everything else parents carefully do to protect their kids -- cooking healthy kid food, hiring the right babysitters, buckling them into car seats (or shouting out seat belt reminders) -- summer takes preparation, too.
Here's what you need to fully take care your kids you and your summer babysitter or nanny can help keep kids safe this season, monitoring the fun right out of their vacation, gathered by HappyMom.Life
Be Sun Savvy
We've heard it sun expose before, but make sure your family and caregivers all have the same sun-strategy.
- Cover. Dress kids in protective clothing and hats. Clothing can be an excellent barrier of ultraviolet rays. Many light-weight sun-protective styles cover the neck, elbows and knees.
- Apply early and repeat. For kids six months and older (as well as adults), sunscreens with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or greater reduce the intensity of UVRs that cause sunburns. Apply liberally 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure, so it can absorb into the skin and decrease the likelihood that it will be washed off. Reapply every two hours and after kids swim, sweat or dry off with a towel. For most users, proper application and reapplication are more important factors than using a product with a higher SPF.
- Keep infants out of the sun. Keep babies younger than six months out of direct sunlight, dressed in cool, comfortable clothing and wearing hats with brims. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says sunscreen may be used on infants younger than six months on small areas of skin if adequate clothing and shade are not available.
- Beware of shade. Many people think sitting in the shade is a simple sun compromise. Shade does provide relief from the heat, but it offers parents a false sense of security about UVR protection. You can still sunburn in shade, because light is scattered and reflected. A fair-skinned person sitting under a tree can burn in less than an hour.
- Check the weather. Look for the ultra-violet (UV) index when planning outdoor activities; it predicts the intensity of UV light based on the sun's position, cloud movements, altitude, ozone data and other factors. Higher UV index numbers predict more intense UV light.
Splash Safely (and Other Water Rules)
In fact, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury deaths in kids one to four-years-old. Here are some helpful tips to prevent accidents around the water.
- Stay off cell phones. Don't allow yourself to get distracted when your kids are in the water. And, yes, chatting with other parents is a common distraction as well.
- Put a guard up. Even kiddie pools in backyards should be drained after use, urges Samuel. For houses that have swimming pools, fencing should be at least four feet high and surround the pool on all sides, with doors that close and lock by themselves. Pool supply companies may offer options for alarms and other safety systems. Remember to never rely solely on an alarm or a fence. Train your kids to never go near the pool without an adult.
Beware of Bugs
Unfortunately, those blood-sucking critters are a part of summer nights, and, yes, even days. HappyMom.Life gives these suggestions on how to stay safe from insects:
- Spray and repeat. Parents or caregivers should spray kids' exposed skin and clothing. Reapply whenever the spray gets washed off or the child starts getting bitten again. For an alternative to sprays, try insect repellent pads that clip on clothes.
- Check for allergic reactions. Some kids react to insect bites more than others. If your child gets bitten and seems to have an allergic reaction to the bite, seek medical attention to see if you should give your child an oral antihistamine or other medication.
- Check for ticks. Ticks thrive in warm, moist, woodsy areas, so ideally kids should wear long clothing to cover their skin, but let's be realistic: in the heat of summer, that's hard to do. Clothes are a culprit, too; ticks can come in on a t-shirt! If the clothes aren't dirty enough to need washing (dream on), do it anyway. Placing clothes in the dryer on high heat for at least an hour will kill any ticks.
- Kids six and older can check themselves, with adult guidance, but they must check their entire body, not just forearms and legs: under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, back of the knees, in and around the hair, between the legs, around the waist, etc. If a child develops any rash or fever after a tick bite, visit the doctor.
You may be surprised how much -- and when -- kids should drink liquids. To prevent dehydration, kids should drink 12 ounces of fluid 30 minutes before an activity begins and take mandatory fluid breaks (like many day camps require), with kids under 90 pounds drinking five ounces every 20 minutes during activities and kids over 90 pounds drinking nine ounces every 20 minutes. Tip: A child's gulp equals a half-ounce of fluid, so your child should drink about 10 gulps for every 20 minutes of play.
Head Off Injuries
Helmet safety is extremely important, particularly during the summer when kids spend lots of time outdoors riding bikes. Kids should always wear a properly fitting helmet that is approved by the CPSC for the activity they are doing (biking, skateboarding, etc). Why not take your child with you to pick it out at the shop, so he can have a say in the color and design? And, it may sound silly, but don't forget to fasten the chin strap -- lots of people don't bother. Make a family rule: no helmet, no wheels. And parents and caregivers, you must serve as an example: wear your own helmet!
Never Wait In A Hot Car
It only takes 10 minutes for a car to heat up by 19 degrees. Every so often, we hear news stories of parents forgetting infants or leaving a sleeping toddler in the car, and tragedies that ensue. Never leave a child alone in a car, even for a minute. Degrees can be deceiving. Fatalities can occur at temperatures as low as the mid-50s because a vehicle heats up so quickly. Children are at a great risk for heat stroke because their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult's does. Cracking a window? Not a solution. Some advanced technologies are still being developed that may help prevent heat stroke deaths in vehicles, but nothing has been proven effective yet.
Create a Summer Survival Kit
Here is some recommendation parents and caregivers carry around in a purse, bag or car for summer emergencies:
- Cell phone
- Medications for chronic conditions
- Antibiotic cream for cuts and scrapes
- Crushable icepack for bruises
- An epi-pen for a person with known allergies
- Sun protection
- Hats and sunglasses
- Insect repellent
Don't get overwhelmed by all this information and decide to keep your kids locked indoors all summer, hidden under the bed. Summer is a time for having fun, and a few bug bites and scrapes are worth it. Just make sure you and your summer nanny or babysitter are informed about these important summer safety tips -- print these tips out, so you can refresh yourself often -- then stop worrying, go have fun and enjoy your summer!
Photo Credit: Pinterest
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