Summer is finally here, and for some that means weekend barbecues, pool parties and endless outdoor activities for kids to have fun in the sun. While having fun is always a high priority, keeping your children safe and healthy should also play a vital role in preparing for summer.
From water safety to heat-related illnesses, we’ll cover a variety of different topics that should provide you with helpful tips for having a safe, yet fun summer with your loved ones.
With scorching hot temperatures in the summertime, it’s always nice to take a break from the heat and jump into a nice, refreshing pool. However, did you know that drownings are the leading cause of injury-related death in children, particularly those younger than 4 years old?
It’s important for parents to know how to prevent accidents, such as drownings, from happening, and be able to respond to emergency situations when they arise. Here’s some basic water safety rules to learn:
Supervision is key. When children are in or around water, they should constantly be watched by an adult. Younger children are especially at risk as they can drown in less than 2 inches of water. This means that drownings can happen in the most common areas around the house, such as the sink, toilet bowl or tub. Other common areas where young children can drown easily is inflatable pools or ditches that may fill with rainwater around your home.
Teach kids how to swim. Children can start swim lessons at a very young age. Even though they might not be able to swim on their own until around age 4, getting them used to the water can be beneficial. Start by checking out local recreation centers for classes that are taught by qualified instructors, such as the YMCA.
Learn CPR skills. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) skills could save someone’s life. Look into possibly signing up for an American Red Cross class to become CPR certified.
Take precautions around your home. If you decide to purchase a home with a pool, make sure to install a fence around the pool if there isn’t already one there.
Here’s what to do in an emergency situation: If your child is missing, always check the pool or other body of water first, as survival of the child could depend on a quick response. If the child is in the water, get the child out while calling loudly for help – if someone is nearby, have them call 911 immediately. Check to see if the child is breathing. If not, start CPR if you are trained to do so and follow the instructions the 911 emergency operator provides.
In the summertime, water-related activities are a popular way for children and parents alike to get some well-needed physical activity. Just be sure that a lesson or two on water safety is implemented on the next boating trip, pool party or annual trip to the beach.
Speaking of the beach, let’s talk about something that all of us – especially in the southern hemisphere – can relate to: the dreaded, unforgiving heat of the summer.
Beat the Heat & Sun
Every year, thousands of people suffer symptoms of heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke, according to the Mayo Clinic. Soaring temperatures paired with high humidity is a disaster waiting to be unleashed. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include headache, dizziness and profuse sweating. Symptoms of a heat stroke are typically more serious, such as confusion or altered mental status, clammy skin and you may stop sweating.
Infants and children up to around 4 years old are at the greatest risk of suffering from heat-related illnesses. So, what can be done to help keep this from happening to your child? Experts say that prevention is key. Here’s some ways to best prevent these illnesses from occurring:
Never leave anyone in parked car. Unfortunately, this is a common cause of heat-related deaths in children. Be sure to never leave infants, children or pets in a parked car, even when the windows are cracked open. Temperatures in a car can rise by 20 degrees within 10 minutes.
Be sure to dress the part. Dress yourself and your children in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Wearing excess clothing or clothing that fits tightly won’t allow your body to get the air circulation that it needs to cool properly.
Protect against sunburn. Only a few serious sunburns can increase you and your child’s risk of skin cancer later in life. Be sure to protect yourself and your loved ones by covering up with hats, sunglasses and using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Apply sunscreen generously and reapply every two hours.
Drink plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated with drinking water will help your body sweat and regulate a normal body temperature.
Avoid the hottest parts of the day. If applicable, schedule outdoor activities carefully for the morning and evening hours when the sun isn’t at its peak in the sky. If you can’t avoid this part of the day, be sure to avoid strenuous activity, drink fluids and rest frequently.
If you or your child start to show symptoms of heat-related illnesses, you should immediately stop all activity and rest, move to a cooler place and drink plenty of fluids. If the symptoms continue to worsen, you should contact your doctor right away or seek immediate medical attention by visiting the emergency room.
Parents should also be aware that children aren’t the only things that enjoy a hot summer day, creepy crawly insects make their presents well known, durring this time of the year.
Keep the Insects Away
With rising temperatures during the summer, insects thrive around still bodies of water such as ponds, lakes and even the ditch outside your home. It’s important to protect yourself and your family by preventing bites and diseases like Zika, West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease, which can be easily transmitted by insects.
The best way to keep the bugs at bay, is by using an effective insect repellent while playing outdoors, especially in the evening hours. Another way to prevent insects from taking over your yard is to seek out a pest-control service to make your backyard a tick-free zone.
If you decide to take your family on a memorable, summer time camping trip, be sure that you consistently check yourself and your children in highly wooded areas for insects who also want to join in on the fun and latch to your skin, such as ticks.
Making Summer Fun
Making the most out of summer vacation is every child’s dream. From taking family vacations to playing with neighborhood friends, it’s all about making lifetime memories while also keeping it safe.
Did you know that each year in the United States, emergency rooms treat more than 200,000 children for playground-related injuries? As a parent, you can help prevent these injuries by making sure that playground equipment is safe and well-maintained, and by supervising them while they play.
Another issue that’s only popped up in recent generations is making sure that your child or (more likely) teenager is using the internet safely. In recent times, kids have taken to electronic media to embarrass, harass or even threaten their peers. Take steps to ensure their internet usage is monitored and/or limited with parental controls.
Once school is out for the summer, it may be difficult to keep your child entertained, especially for parents who continue to work year-round. So, it’s important to make time for vacations and bond with your family, because these are the precious moments they’ll never forget.