Good news! Summer is upon us! During this season of free time and relaxation, it is important to remember that our children’s safety is our top priority. Summer means swimming, prolonged sun exposure and other seasonal activities that have the potential of harming our children if we are not cautious.
The following safety tips are directly from the American Academy of Pediatrics and are provided here for your review. Please see the links at the bottom of each section for a more complete, detailed list of safety tips.
All of us here at Alpha Pediatrics wish you and your family a joyous and safe summer!
For Babies under 6 months:
• The two main recommendations from the AAP to prevent sunburn are to:
1) Avoid sun exposure, and
2) Dress infants in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats that shade the neck to prevent sunburn.
Parents can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF to small areas, such as the infant’s face and the back of the hands. If an infant gets sunburn, apply cool compresses to the affected area.
For All Other Children:
• The first, and best, line of defense against harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure is covering up. Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours – between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
• Wear a hat with a three-inch brim or a bill facing forward, sunglasses (look for sunglasses that provide 97% -100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays), and clothing with a tight weave.
• On both sunny and cloudy days use a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater that protects against UVA and UVB rays.
• Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.
• Use extra caution near water and sand (and even snow!) as they reflect UV rays and may result in sunburn more quickly.
• Never leave children alone in or near the pool or spa, even for a moment; close supervision by a responsible adult is the best way to prevent drowning in children.
• Whenever children under age 5 are in or around water, an adult – preferably one who knows how to swim and perform CPR – should be within arm’s length.
• Install a fence at least 4 feet high around all four sides of the pool. The fence should not have openings or protrusions that a young child could use to get over, under, or through.
• Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as “floaties.” They are not a substitute for approved life vests and can give children and parents a false sense of security.
• Children over age 1 may be at a lower risk of drowning if they have had some formal swimming instruction. However, there is no evidence that swimming lessons or water survival skills courses can prevent drowning in babies younger than 1 year of age.
• The decision to enroll a child over age one in swimming lessons should be made by the parent based on the child’s developmental readiness and exposure to water, but swim programs should never be seen as “drown proofing” a child of any age.
• If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first.
• Share safety instructions with family, friends and neighbors.
Please visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website at the following link to get a complete list of sun and pool safety tips:
• A helmet protects your child from serious injury, and should always be worn. And remember, wearing a helmet at all times helps children develop the helmet habit.
• Your child needs to wear a helmet on every bike ride, no matter how short or how close to home. Many injuries happen in driveways, on sidewalks, and on bike paths, not just on streets. Children learn best by observing you. Set the example: Whenever you ride, put on your helmet.
• When purchasing a helmet, look for a label or sticker that says the helmet meets the CPSC safety standard.
• A helmet should be worn so that it is level on the head and covers the forehead, not tipped forward or backwards. The strap should be securely fastened with about 2 fingers able to fit between chin and strap. The helmet should be snug on the head, but not overly tight. Skin should move with the helmet when moved side to side. If needed, the helmet’s sizing pads can help improve the fit.
• Do not push your child to ride a 2-wheeled bike without training wheels until he or she is ready. Consider the child’s coordination and desire to learn to ride. Stick with coaster (foot) brakes until your child is older and more experienced for hand brakes. Consider a balance bike with no pedals for young children to learn riding skills.
• Take your child with you when you shop for the bike, so that he or she can try it out. The value of a properly fitted bike far outweighs the value of surprising your child with a new one. Buy a bike that is the right size, not one your child has to “grow into.” Oversized bikes are especially dangerous.
• Don’t use scented soaps, perfumes or hair sprays on your child.
• Avoid areas where insects nest or congregate, such as stagnant pools of water, uncovered foods and gardens where flowers are in bloom.
• Avoid dressing your child in clothing with bright colors or flowery prints.
• To remove a visible stinger from skin, gently back it out by scraping it with a credit card or your fingernail.
• Combination sunscreen/insect repellent products should be avoided because sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours, but the insect repellent should not be reapplied.
• Use insect repellents containing DEET when needed to prevent insect-related diseases. Ticks can transmit Lyme Disease, and mosquitoes can transmit West Nile, Chikungunya Virus and other viruses.
• The current AAP and CDC recommendation for children older than 2 months of age is to use 10% to 30% DEET. DEET should not be used on children younger than 2 months of age.
• The effectiveness is similar for 10% to 30% DEET but the duration of effect varies. Ten percent DEET provides protection for about 2 hours, and 30% protects for about 5 hours. Choose the lowest concentration that will provide the required length of coverage.
• The concentration of DEET varies significantly from product to product, so read the label of any product you purchase. Children should wash off repellents when they return indoors.
• As an alternative to DEET, picaridin has become available in the U.S. in concentrations of 5% to10%.
• When outside in the evenings or other times when there are a lot of mosquitoes present, cover up with long sleeved shirts, pants and socks to prevent bites.
Please visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website at the following link to get a complete list of summer safety tips:
As always, for ANY EMERGENCY dial 911 immediately.