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Keeping Kids Healthy and Safe During Summertime


The days are getting longer and temperatures are beginning to rise, which means summer has arrived! And now that the kids are out of school for summer break, its a great time to get them out and about and spending ample time outdoors. Roasting marshmallows, splashing in the pool, and plenty of sunshine - what's not to love? But all that great outdoor fun can also lead to safety risks. Here's what you can do to keep the young ones in your life both healthy and safe this summer, while still having lots of fun!

Water safety. Always supervise children when swimming and keep them within arm’s reach, even in shallow water. Children should always use a life vest, and it’s a good idea for parents to learn CPR. Swim lessons are a great way to build confidence for kids around water.

Stay hydrated. Drink water before, during and after physical activity, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Bring bottled water with you, or plan for water stops. Call 9-1-1 and take action right away if you experience symptoms of dehydration, including a high fever above 104 degrees F; hot, dry or red skin; a fast, weak pulse; fast, shallow breathing; irrational behavior or extreme confusion; a seizure or unconsciousness.

Sun care. Avoid being in the sun between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothes, and sunglasses, a hat and plenty of sweat-resistant sunscreen. Use sunscreen with a UVA and UBV protection of SPF 15 or higher, and reapply every 2 hours or after getting wet.

Keep cool! Allow time to adapt to heat, and utilize shady spots. Never leave kids or pets in unattended cars, even with the windows cracked.

Burn safety. Keep children at a distance when using the grill or around camp fires. Keep sparklers and other fireworks away from children. Contact your pediatrician right away if your child has been burned.

Insect safety. When outside, keep kids covered with lightweight clothing, and use mosquito netting over strollers. Use bug repellant with DEET, a concentration of 30% or less for kids older than 2 months, and don’t use combination sunscreen and bug repellants. Check your child’s body thoroughly for ticks. If you find a tick, use tweezers to pull it straight out. Contact your pediatrician if your child has been bitten by a tick that could have been on for over 36 hours.

Plant safety. Avoid poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. Whenever possible, wash skin within 10 minutes of coming into contact with these plants to avoid the rash. Use topical hydrocortisone cream or an oral antihistamine to relieve the itch associated with bug bites and rashes, but if it is severe call your pediatrician.

Bicycle safety. Always wear a well-fitting bicycle helmet when biking, skating or on a scooter.

Dr. Marc Cerrone, Day Kimball Medical Group PediatricianDr. Marc Cerrone is a pediatrician and Director of Pediatrics for Day Kimball Medical Group and Day Kimball Hospital’s Pediatric Hospitalist Program.

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