The sun is starting to shine and temperatures are rising, which can only mean one thing: summer. While summer is just what the doctor ordered, staying out of the doctor’s office and away from danger is a must.
Beat the heat by staying cool and hydrated.
When kids are having fun, they very rarely stop what they are doing. Add in the summer heat and you can have a problem on your hands. Frequent water breaks—every 15 to 20 minutes—are important to prevent dehydration. Adding fruit to water for flavor or making fruit ice cubes and homemade ice pops can make the drink breaks more exciting and flavorful.
Stay sun smart, and prevent sunburn.
While some of the best summer days are those spent outside in the sun, you don’t want to end those days with the pains and problems of a sunburn. Sunscreen is a must. Hats, sunglasses and shade also help ward off the sun’s damaging UV rays. The American Cancer Society recommends an SPF of 15 or higher, applied every 2 hours, as the most effective way to protect your little one’s skin from the sun.
Understand water safety.
According to the CDC, kids drown at twice the rate during summer compared to the rest of the year. It seems obvious, but so does watching kids around water.
Designate an adult to watch the water at all times when kids are outside playing near water. Backyard pools should be surrounded by fencing and having locking gates. Placing a sensor that sounds an alarm near a pool or on the pool gate is also beneficial in alerting adults that a child is near a pool. Keep in mind that drowning doesn’t look like it does in the movies–it’s a lot more subtle. Familiarize yourself with the signs of drowning so you know what to look out for.
Sign your kids up for swim lessons and provide floating devices—puddle jumpers, life jackets, etc.—but don’t rely on these solely. While swim lessons help, even the best swimmers are still susceptible to the dangers of the water.
Be ready for bug bites.
You and your kids aren’t the only ones wanting to enjoy the warm weather. Bugs also love sweet summer time and sweet treats—which they may find from you! Using insect repellent can help reduce bites from mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and other bugs.
Check for ticks daily, and seek medical attention if a tick is embedded and has been for longer than 24 hours to prevent Lyme disease. Ice packs, pain relievers, Benadryl, or topical anti-itch creams can help lessen the sting of any bite.
Pad up and prevent injuries.
As stated by the CDC, over 200,000 kids sustain injuries from bikes annually. Add into that number the 200,000 kids that visit the emergency room because of playground or trampoline accidents and you’ll find a lot of trips to the emergency room occur throughout the summer. While there are other ways kids can get injured during the summer months, these are the most common. Make sure your kids don’t become a statistic.
Provide a helmet and require it at all times when bike riding. Ensure the helmet fits properly as well. Watch your kids on the playground equipment, and only play on equipment that has soft, safe and well-maintained areas underneath. As for the trampoline, make sure there are safety walls and coverings over the springs, and keep the number of bouncers to no more than two at a time.
Prepare for stranger danger.
With summer comes trips and exploring. Talk to your kids about who “strangers” are or may be, and differentiate between good strangers (police officers, for example) and bad strangers. Instill confidence, not fear. Ensure they are never alone, especially when in a new place. Role play different situations and teach your little ones what to do in each situation.
Above all, if they feel uncomfortable or someone tries to physically take them, make sure they know to get the attention of other adults—yelling, running, etc.—as the majority of adults will help when they see a child in danger.