Summertime is a favorite time of the year, especially for families. Children are able to play outside more, family and friends get together for parties or grilling, and it’s a popular time of year to go on vacation. Though these mid-year months can be some of the most fun, some common family activities can be very dangerous.
At Educational Playcare, we want to ensure that our students and their families are in good physical and mental health, which why Wellness is one of our Core Values. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind this summer:
Sun Safety: UV ray protection is very important during the summer months. One of the easiest ways to protect against UV rays is to try to stay in the shade as much as possible and to avoid or limit outdoor activities during the peak hours of the day. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends that families use sunscreen on infants and toddlers 6 months or older. They suggest using a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and that they reapply sunscreen every two hours. Even if you or your child is in the pool or ocean and you do not feel that the sun is that strong, it is important to still use sunscreen because water and even sand reflect UV rays causing sunburns to occur more quickly.
It’s also very important to ensure that families are protecting their children’s eyes while they are outside. Ensuring a child is wearing the proper eyewear helps prevent them from developing common eye problems later in life such as cataracts. When purchasing sunglasses for your child, make sure they block out 100% of UV rays. Try glasses that have an elastic band so that they will stay in place and be more comfortable for your child. Some children are also more likely to wear their sunglasses when they’ve been given the opportunity to help pick them out.
Beat the Heat: With the warm weather comes more activities taking place outside. It’s important that with the rising temperatures, families are making sure their children are staying hydrated and do not overheat. It is important to be aware of the signs of dehydration which include thirst, dry mouth, dizziness, extreme fatigue, and weakness. The best defense against dehydration is prevention. When planning activities for the day, try to keep children out of the sun and heat during the peak hours of heat. Children should be dressed appropriately for the weather, keeping clothes lightweight and light-colored. Children should wear hats, which will help protect their face, scalp, ears, and necks. When outside, families should make sure that water is available for everyone and be sure that even if children say they aren’t thirsty, they are drinking water to stay hydrated.
Keep the Bugs Away: Being outdoors more frequently increases your exposure to insect bites, which can be more than just a summertime annoyance. Mosquitoes can potentially carry diseases such as Dengue, Zika, and Malaria. The best defense against getting bitten by insects is to wear long sleeve shirts and pants whenever possible and to use insect repellent. Because children tend to be more sensitive to these products, families are encouraged to speak with their child’s pediatrician to determine the best insect repellent to use for their child.
Water Safety: A summertime favorite is visiting the beach or playing in the pool. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drownings are the leading cause of injury and death for young children ages 1 to 14. Children should never be left unattended when playing near or in water, even if the water is shallow. When children are playing in the water, an adult who knows how to swim and preferably one who knows how to perform CPR should be within arm’s reach in case a child slips into the water. It is also very important that when a child is near or in the water, that they are wearing the appropriate flotation device. When purchasing a flotation device, ensure that it meets your child’s needs in regard to weight and size requirements, and also have your child try it on to make sure it fits properly.
Following these tips and being mindful during other summertime activities such as grilling and riding bicycles will ensure that your family has a safe, fun summer!