Who doesn’t look forward to summer? The kids are out of school, vacations are on the horizon, traffic is lighter. Everything slows down to an easy pace. For my family, life just seems calmer.
It’s easy to forget, though, that when the temperatures go up, so does the risk of injuries and illnesses—especially in kids. Dehydration, sunburn and broken bones from falls are all things that can keep a child inside during the summer. Here are a few tips to help your kids have a fun—and safe—summer.
Supervise water time
Did you know that drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death in children ages 14 and younger? Each year, more than 900 children drown in pools, lakes and other bodies of water.
I love to read. It’s great relaxation to sit by the neighborhood pool with a good book. But I know that I can’t get too engrossed in my book and stop paying attention to the children around me–even if they aren’t mine. Some advice I would give:
- Practice “touch supervision” by keeping children within reasonable reach at all times. It is especially vital to keep children in baby bath seats and rings within arm’s reach.
- Never, ever leave a child alone at the pool.
- Keep rescue equipment, a telephone and emergency numbers by the pool.
- Remember: inflatable swimming aids, such as “water wings,” are not flotation devices and do not prevent drowning.
- Teach children to never dive into a river, lake, ocean or body of water less than nine feet
Cover up and slather on
When I was younger, I had a few bad sunburns that made me skip a day at the beach. I hate for that to happen to my children. Remember these sun protection tips:
- Apply sunscreen specifically made for children with an SPF of at least 15. While swimming, children should wear waterproof sunscreen. Sunscreen should be reapplied every 90 minutes.
- Outfit children with a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection.
- Even when precautions are followed, it is best to minimize the amount of sun exposure during the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
The severity of heat injury ranges from mild heat cramps to heat stroke and even death. Heat stroke is the third most common cause of exercise-related death in U.S. high school athletes. But there is one important fact to remember — heat-related illness is preventable.
- Never rely on thirst. When a young athlete begins to feel thirsty, he or she may already be dehydrated.
- Prehydrate. Thirty minutes before activity, have your child drink until he or she is no longer thirsty — plus another eight ounces. Kids weighing less than 90 pounds should drink five ounces for every 20 minutes of activity.
Get in those Zzzz
It’s so easy to get off your sleep cycle in the summer, especially for kids. Without the regimen of school, kids want to stay up later and sleep in later. It’s important to remember that sleep is still an essential part of health. Try to stick with a schedule to keep kids healthier and make the transition back to school a lot easier.