Summer is just around the corner, and with all the fun in the sun that comes along with this adventurous season, there are just as many—if not more—dangers to be wary of. Taking the proper precautions ahead of time can save you and your child pain and discomfort in the future.
By now, we all know about the dangers of UV rays, especially on young, delicate skin. Daily use of sunscreen is the best way to protect against these damaging rays, specifically during long days at the pool and beach when more skin will be showing for longer periods of time. In order to maximize sunscreen’s effectiveness, slather it on your child at least 15 minutes before the sun touches her skin, then reapply according to the brand’s instructions—this is especially crucial after swimming or other water play.
The number one way to protect your child from drowning is by teaching him how to swim. Swim lessons are available for all ages, even crawlers. If your family has access to a pool at your home or apartment, ensure that there is proper fencing or gating around the perimeter of the pool. For in-ground pools, anti-entrapment drain covers should be up to date. And, most important, appropriate members of your family should receive training in CPR, first aid and emergency response. Be sure to talk to your child about pool safety so he is aware of the dangers even while under someone else’s care.
Whether you have a tricycle-rider or 10-speeder in your house, you must always be sure that your child wears a well-fitting bike helmet. If worn improperly, the helmet’s effectiveness is reduced dramatically. A helmet should be worn level, covering your child’s forehead, and the straps should always be fastened and adjusted properly so it cannot be twisted or pulled around on her head. Teach her to take care of her helmet, and be sure to replace it should any damage occur.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you can begin using insect repellents, even those with DEET, once your infant is 2 months old. As a general recommendation, however, you should limit the use of these products on kids to those that contain 10% or less of DEET. Here are a few additional helpful hints:
- Use just enough repellent to cover only exposed skin and/or clothing; do not use under clothing
- Avoid usage on cuts, wounds or irritations
- Do not apply to eyes or mouth; when using sprays, spray onto your hands first, then apply to face
- Do not spray in enclosed areas and/or near food
- Keep out of reach of children and don’t let children apply repellents themselves
- Wash treated skin with soap and water after coming indoors.
Itchy, watery eyes and throats are par for the course when it comes to those pesky summer allergies. The best way to protect your child from allergies is by avoiding the source of the problem as best as you can. Being aware of pollen counts is important, as you can limit your child’s time outside and keep the windows closed to reduce his contact with it. Keep allergy medicines on hand for those times when the symptoms get the best of him.
Trampolines are magnets for kids once warm weather rolls around, and even if you don’t have one in your backyard, chances are, your child knows someone who does. Let her know that under no circumstances is she allowed to jump on a non-safety-netted trampoline. And don’t be afraid to insist upon supervised jumping. Her safety is at risk, after all.
Summer is the ultimate occasion for outdoorsy activities, which means you and your family will no doubt encounter a number of strangers. Playgrounds, water parks, festivals and even your own neighborhood are all places where your child should be wary of interacting with strangers, whether you’re there or not. But if you keep him armed with the information he needs, you can greatly reduce his chances of encountering problems.
Following are some tips for both you and your child:
- Yell, kick and scream if grabbed by a stranger
- Know your area code and phone number
- Use the buddy system
- Always keep current photos and records of your child
- Teach them about lure tactics
- Establish a family code word
- Implement a separation plan in case your child gets lost at the mall, amusement park, etc.
- Double-check their route to school and stress the importance of not deviating from this route
- Inform your child’s principal who is authorized to pick up your child
- Keep lines of communication open with your child so he knows he can come to you with any problem that may arise
- Organize a block watch program with your neighbors
- Make note of what your child wears every day, and avoid putting his name on the outside of his clothing so as to prevent stranger interaction.
While it’s true that you can’t protect your child from everything, following the above tips can help ensure that they stay out of dangerous situations that could otherwise be avoided. The most important weapon you can arm them with is knowledge, so start talking.
Contact Us (859-525-8181) if you have any questions!
About Pediatrics of Florence
We believe that children are more than just “little adults.” They have unique personalities, challenges, and life circumstances and we have made every effort to make our offices and care as “kid friendly” as possible. We have an aquatic theme in the waiting rooms (separated for sick and well children) as well as themed examination rooms. All of our physicians are Board Certified Pediatricians and members of the American Academy of Pediatrics and our nurse practitioners are all licensed Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and are available to see both well and sick children.