Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Safety Tips

Sun and Heat
Cumulative sun damage can come from both UVA and UVB rays. Choosing a sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or more is recommended. Apply 20 to 30 minutes before exposure and reapplying frequently, especially after time in the water, is strongly recommended. Don’t rely on the use of waterproof sunscreen to keep working for you after water play – to be safe simply reapply.
Wear clothing that is light weight, but also provides good coverage on exposed skin. This is especially important for infants and toddlers. Hats with brims or visors that shade the face (and neck if possible) are important summer “equipment.” We can all benefit from smart summer clothing choices. Avoid prolonged exposure during peak sun hours of 10 AM to 4 PM. When playing outdoors make sure shade is available to everyone.
Good hydration is vital at all times but especially true during the summer. Offer children drinks before heading out to play and plan on several drink breaks while outdoors. Serving beverages at moderate temperature promotes greater fluid intake. Fruits, vegetables, soups and popsicles have high water content which can supplement fluid intake. Don't rely in sugary drinks for all beverage options. Encourage plenty of water. Water can be flavored with fresh fruits or veggies by floating them in a pitcher with ice water.

Wearing protective clothing, especially in areas that are bushy, woody or wet will help to limit use of insect repellents. The most effective repellent contains DEET, but should not exceed 10% of ingredients. There are other options such as peppermint oil, vinegar and citronella oil. Whatever repellent you choose children under 2 months should not have repellent on their skin. There are options for repelling insects outdoors other than using a repellent on the skin.
Bright colors, sweet drinks and food attract bees and wasps. When out at summer activities be aware of areas where bees congregate in large numbers (trash containers, food and drink stands, etc.) and avoid those area if possible. If a sting should occur remove the stinger by a gentle scrape of your fingernail or a credit card immediately. Apply a cool compress or ice to minimize the pain and swelling. Localized redness, some swelling and pain at the site are “normal” reactions. Some individuals have swelling beyond the site, but are not considered an adverse reaction. If you are uncertain call a health care professional. Watch for signs of allergic reaction which may include; difficulty breathing, hives, swelling of the face/mouth/throat, wheezing or difficulty swallowing, restlessness and anxiety, rapid pulse, dizziness or sharp drop in blood pressure. Seek immediate medical attention. Self-care kits are carried by those who have allergic reactions to stings.
As a personal note, I've found that baby wipes are great at relieving the sting and cooling the site. We found this out when there was a bee sting in the car. The wipe was soothing and got us to a place with ice. Since then I always carry wipes with me.

Not all playgrounds are created equal. Check for age appropriate equipment and safe ground cover. Wood chips and absorbent surfacing are best. Sand or loose gravel can seem soft but can become compacted after a rain or over time. Older playgrounds should be checked for loose bolts, bars that turn, curved ladder rungs and swing chains that have spaces between links. Previewing a park before your trip is wise so that you can make an informed playground decision. Being aware of the playground location is also important. Sometimes the playground appears safe but the surrounding environment is not appropriate.

Accident Prevention
• Biking, rollerblading or scooters – wear correct fitting, safety approved helmets and protective gear.
• Water safety – constant supervision is needed by adults who have swimming and CPR skills. Be sure that floatation devices are approved and appropriate for the child.
• Window screens – make sure that screens are secure and in good condition. Remember screens do not stop falls.
• Outdoor play – supervise all play outdoors. Avoid playing in the garage without constant supervision as typical garages are full of potential hazards.

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