I am so excited the sunny weather is finally here and summer break is right around the corner! Not only does that mean there is plenty of time to play and have fun, there are also some safety concerns to be reminded of. I want to review some of the things that will keep our kids healthy this spring and summer.
While we are out and about in the nice sunny weather (and even when it is cloudy) we want to remember to wear sunscreen–SPF 30-50 is adequate as long as we reapply frequently, especially before swimming and after we come out of the water and dry off. A light weight brimmed hat and sunglasses are also helpful in protecting our scalp and eyes from the harmful UV rays. Studies have shown that if a person can avoid a second-degree sunburn (the bubbling skin type) through the first 17 years of life it reduces the risk of developing melanoma as an adult. Even if your child has darker skin or “tans well” we still need to be diligent about preventing burns.
The summer months also bring about mosquitoes and other insects so bug spray is also a vital addition to our summer safety arsenal. Be sure to buy bug spray that contains 15-30% DEET and remember that in young children the bug spray does not have to be sprayed directly on the body, but can be sprayed on a towel or a sock and placed next to your child. Dryer sheets also appear to deter mosquitoes when placed in the carriage or stroller next to your baby.
Water-related accidents result in serious injury and death in children of all ages so we encourage swim lessons for even the youngest infants. The earlier children learn swim safety techniques like being able to float on their back and stay calm when under water, the better the chances they have of surviving an unintended dunk in the pool or getting knocked over by a wave in the ocean. Children should be taught to always have adult supervision whenever going near or in the water. If you are fortunate enough to have a pool in your yard it must be fenced in and have a safety lock to prevent access from curious little explorers.
Outdoor activities are much more common as the weather improves which means more bicycle, scooter, and skateboard use. People of all ages should wear a properly fitting helmet whenever their feet are not on the ground no matter how “good” they think they are at riding. Just like with nutrition and exercise, it is monkey-see, monkey-do, so when adults and older kids wear their helmets the littler ones will follow suit. As parents, never forget the influence you have on young, impressionable children so be mindful that you are setting an example with your own actions!
I’m sure everyone is ready to get outside and enjoy the season…I know I am! Have fun, kick back, and stay safe!
Dr. Jill 🙂