Six Tips to Help Children and Teens Avoid Summer Safety Hazards
Summer is in full swing, and it’s the perfect time for children, teens, and families to enjoy the outdoors. Not only is outside time fun, it usually provides exercise. However, parents also need to be aware of the safety hazards that can come with summer activities. Whether you’re swimming, bicycling, going to the park, or just playing games in the backyard, follow these summer safety tips for a healthy and injury-free summer.
1. Water Safety is More Than Swim Lessons
Drowning is the leading cause of accidental deaths among children in the United States. And while enrolling your child in swim lessons is a good first step to preventing drowning, there are a number of other precautions that need to be taken.
- Make sure there is always an adult or a lifeguard present. Kids often play games in and around water that can become unsafe or result in a child getting stuck under water.
- Keep your child in a level of water that is manageable based on their abilities.
- For younger children, use a child-size-life vest instead of water wings, since little arms and legs can easily slip out. Vests are also safer than swim rings, which pose a risk of tipping over.
- Parents should consider taking a CPR class so they can be prepared in case of a near-drowning incident. Look for classes offered in your area through the American Red Cross.
2. Remember the Tick Check
If your child has been in your backyard, playing in the woods, or on a hiking trail, you’ll want to check for ticks soon after he or she comes inside. Ticks can range in size from tiny, baby ticks to larger, adult ticks. Check the entire body, including behind the ears, the scalp, and the pelvic area. If you find a tick, follow these steps from the Centers for Disease Control for safe removal.
3. Repel the Bugs
You can help prevent the ticks, as well as mosquitoes, with the right bug repellant. Products with DEET concentrations of less than 30 percent are safe for children except for babies under two months old. Many natural repellents, such as lemon eucalyptus and citronella, shouldn’t be used for children under age 3, and they haven’t been shown to protect against ticks. Only apply repellent once a day, and always wash it off before bedtime to prevent extended exposure.
4. Slather on Sunscreen Before Heading Outside
The following tips can help protect your kids from sunburn.
- Most people underestimate how much sunscreen is needed for effective coverage. Dermatologists recommend one ounce of sunscreen for adults. That’s the equivalent of six teaspoons or about the size of a golf ball.
- You should be putting on sunscreen 30 minutes before heading outside in order to be effective, and it should be reapplied every 1 ½ hours.
- For babies younger than six months, try to use clothing or umbrellas to protect them from the sun’s rays. If you must use sunscreen on a baby, make sure the only active ingredient is zinc oxide.
5. Cushion Play Equipment Falls
If you have any kind of play equipment, such as swings, a fort, or slide, be sure you have placed at least 9 inches of mulch or wood chips below the area. Your yard is too hard to absorb the impact of a fall. If a child does fall, clean any scrapes or cuts and apply ice to any bruises. If rest and ice don’t remedy any swelling or pain, seek medical care.
6. Put On a Helmet
Bicycles, scooters, roller skates, or any other equipment with wheels require a helmet to prevent head injury in a crash. Make sure the helmet fits snugly, isn’t worn too far back on the head, and that your children know all straps must be buckled in order for the helmet to offer protection. Adults and teens are also at risk for head injuries and should wear helmets for safety and to set a good example.
Keep Your Children Healthy Year-Around with LeBauer
LeBauer HealthCare offers comprehensive care for children, teens, and adults at eight convenient locations throughout the Greensboro area. Board-certified family medicine physicians and family nurse practitioners have special training in the care of children of all ages, and there are a number of benefits to partnering with a family medicine provider.
Find a LeBauer location that’s convenient for your family, or request an appointment for your child with our easy online form.