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Tips for Parents: Summer Safety | PDF

Summer—the perfect time to have fun together as a family.  From amusement parks to inner-tubing, camping to state fairs, there’s almost no end to the adventure.  But many summer activities can have dangerous elements.  Keep these tips in mind before you go out this summer.

Tips for Parents: Heat Safety

In some areas of the country, summer temperatures can climb to more than 110 degrees.  But it doesn’t have to be anywhere near that hot for heat to be dangerous.  Anytime you or the kids are outside, and especially if you are exerting yourself by working or exercising, you’re at risk of heat stroke or heat exhaustion.  Children, people with health conditions, and the elderly are at a higher risk of overheating. 

  1. When it is very warm or hot, the best prevention is to stay indoors in an air conditioned building.  Consider malls and stores, movies, libraries, etc.
  2. Drink more fluids than usual, and enough to avoid feeling thirsty.  If you or the kids are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.  Water and sports drinks with natural sweeteners or juices are best.
  3. Exercise, work or play outdoors early in the morning or late in the evening when temperatures are cooler.
  4. Wear loose, lightweight clothing that allows sweat to evaporate.

If you or the kids experience any combination of these symptoms during hot weather, contact your health care provider immediately:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Headache
  • Thirst
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Increased body temperature (like a fever)

Tips for Parents: Sun Safety

Did you know it’s possible to get a sun burned on a cloudy day?  That UV rays are stronger at higher elevations?  That sunburns increase your child’s risk for skin cancer later in life?  While mild sun exposure can be healthy because it helps mood and helps your body develop vitamin D, excessive sun exposure can be dangerous for both the short term and long term.

Avoid the damage by:

  1. Wearing a wide brimmed hat that shades the face, ears and neck whenever you or the kids will be outside for more than a few minutes.
  2. Talk with your physician to see which sunscreen or sunblock he or she recommends for the kids.  Most dermatologists now recommend that all adults wear a daily lotion with an SPF of at least 15.  Use it every time you’ll be outside.
  3. Wearing loose fitting clothes that allow sweat to evaporate but that cover arms, legs, back and shoulders.  If these areas are going to be exposed to the sun, use sunscreen or sunblock.
  4. Staying out of the sun between 10am and 4pm when it is strongest.
  5. Wearing UV blocking sunglasses whenever you are outdoors.
  6. Keeping babies under 6 months out of the sun completely. 

If your child does become sunburned:

  1. If younger than 1 year, consult your physician immediately.
  2. Make sure they are hydrated by giving plenty of fluids.
  3. Call your doctor right away if there are blisters, a temperature above 101 F, severe pain or lethargy.
  4. A lukewarm bath may help.
  5. Plain Calamine lotion, without added antihistamines, may be dabbed on.
  6. Don’t use any medicated creams unless your baby’s doctor tells you to.

Tips for Parents: Summer Car Safety

Tragically, every year children die from overheating in cars.  Sometimes, they sneak into a car and become trapped or are forgotten, but many times they are intentionally left there by parents or caregivers while they run an errand.

  1. NEVER LEAVE A CHILD ALONE IN A CAR—no matter what time of year it is, but especially in summer when the temperature of a closed car can reach more than 140 degrees in just minutes. 
  2. Always double check yourself that your child is safely in the house or has been dropped off at daycare—never assume someone else brought the child in, and then lock the doors to prevent young children from sneaking or playing in the car.  Ask your child care provider calls right away if you don’t show up at the regular time.
  3. Warn children that it is never safe to play in a car and make sure they know it is not allowed.
  4. Because temperatures can get so high in a car, also be sure to touch the interior before you get in or put baby in.  If the seat, seat belt or steering wheel is hot to your touch, the car can burn your baby.  Open all the doors and windows and let the car cool off before you drive.

Other Summer Safety Tips for Parents:

  1. Review biking and scooter safety rules.
  2. Review stranger danger rules.
  3. Review water safety rules.
  4. When hiking or camping, stay away from steep cliffs, ledges and trails.
  5. Make a safety bar for your sliding windows so that they can be cracked for fresh air during the night but someone can’t climb in.
  6. Be certain all windows, especially those on upper floors, are properly secured so young children can’t fall out.
  7. Use a physician approved insect repellant when you’ll be exposed to fleas, mosquitoes, ticks or other biting insects.  When walking or playing in long grass, always wear long pants, tuck them into your socks, and secure with duct tape to prevent ticks.
  8. Use proper gear when camping, boating, hiking or biking.  Always make sure someone knows where you’re going and when you’ll be home.
  9. Don’t feed wild animals.  If camping, keep food locked up properly in a bear-proof storage well away from your camp.  Even crumbs can draw them in.
  10. If you see a snake, don’t try to kill it.  Get away.  More people are bitten by poisonous snakes while trying to kill them than by being surprise-bitten.

For More Information:

Treating Sunburn in Children
Heat Exhaustion
Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car

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