Summer is a time for longer, sunnier days and outdoor activities. With the season just around the corner, let’s review how to help keep your kids safe at any age.
Though, even with the best intentions and safety measures, accidents and illnesses happen. If you or your loved ones need urgent care or emergency care, our world-class teams of health care professionals are ready to provide you with expert care, safely.
Here are 10 ways to keep your kids safe this summer.
- Prevent Sunburn
From hopscotch and hide-and-seek to a family game of cornhole in the backyard, summer serves up many opportunities for outdoor fun. To protect your family, be sure to apply sunscreen.
It only takes a few serious sunburns to raise your child’s risk of developing skin cancer later in life. Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 and that offers both UVA and UVB protection – look for “broad spectrum” on the label. AdventHealth for Children’s Medical Director and Pediatric Dermatologist, Dr. Tace Rico says ““Using a sunscreen with physical blockers like Zinc and Titanium, help directly reflect the sun providing greater protection. “ Make sure to reapply every 2 hours or after swimming, sweating or toweling dry.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests these items, too:
- A wide-brimmed hat
- Lightweight, long-sleeve shirts and long pants, when possible
- Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays
Finally, try to keep your little ones – and yourself – in the shade, especially during midday hours.
- Help Them Stay Cool
Heat-related illnesses happen when the body’s temperature control system is overworked. Infants and young children are most at risk, but watch out for any child taking part in strenuous activities in hot weather.
Learn the warning signs for heat-related illness and seek care immediately if your child shows any of them. Pay particular attention when outdoors in temperatures that reach 90 degrees or above.
Fortunately, you can take these steps to protect your kids from the extreme heat:
- Dress them in lightweight, light-colored clothes
- Cool them off with a cool bath or a swim
- Give them plenty of water to drink, even before they ask for it
- Seek air conditioning – if you don’t have AC at home, look for heat-relief shelters in your area
- Never leave a child in a parked car, even if you leave the windows cracked open.
With warmer weather and kids at home from school, it’s a good time to master water safety. Dr. Kimberly Fenton says, “ it takes only seconds for something bad to happen. It is important to teach your little ones to recognize their limits. Most accidents happen when there are a lot of adults around. Everyone assumes someone is watching. That’s why it is important to never take your eyes off your little ones. Designate another watcher if you need to step away or take a call. “
According to the CDC, drownings are the top cause of injury death for your children ages 1 to 4. And for every child who dies of drowning, another five receive emergency care for submersion injuries.
To keep your kids safe:
- Always supervise your children when they are in or around water
- Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
- Make sure they wear properly fitting life jackets when in and around natural bodies of water
- Sign your little one up for swim lessons where they will lean to flip over, float, and swim
- Teach them to never swim alone.
You can also review the CDC’s considerations for safe operation of pools and water playgrounds for preventing the spread of illness.
- Use a Helmet
With outdoor play, consider checking your child’s helmet for proper fit. [SL5] [AB6] Dr. Kimberly Fenton, Medical Director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, stresses “If your little one is wearing a helmet that is too big, it can become more of hindrance and increase the risk of danger or injury. “A properly fitting helmet can help protect your child from a serious head injury.
- Keep Bugs Away
The summer months show an increase in mosquitoes and ticks, which can be downright dangerous. Mosquitoes can transmit West Nile virus and Zika, and tick bites can lead to Lyme disease.
To protect your family:
- Apply an effective insect repellent when your kids play outdoors, but avoid their hands, eyes, mouth and cuts or irritated skin
- Check everyone who has been outdoors for ticks and learn how to remove a tick safely
- Cover baby carriers and strollers with mosquito netting
- Dress children in breathable long sleeves and long pants
- Prevent Burns
Campfires, sparklers, roasting marshmallows and making s’mores are fun, but make sure you supervise closely. Keep everyone a safe distance from the fire to prevent burns, and make sure hot treats cool down enough to eat.
- Stay Safe in Storms
Check the weather forecast before your children head outside, especially if they’ll be out for a while.
If thunderstorms are in the forecast, cancel or postpone outdoor activities. But sometimes bad weather can pop up unexpectedly, so teach your kids what to do if they’re caught outside as a thunderstorm approaches:
- Before threatening weather arrives, get inside a substantial building or hard-topped vehicle
- Get to a safe place immediately if thunder is heard
- Encourage your kids to count to 30 between seeing lightning and hearing thunder to know if lightning is a threat. Wait 30 minutes after hearing the last rumble of thunder before leaving shelter.
Know how to protect yourself if you live in an area where tornadoes occur, and teach your children, too. If you need to prepare for hurricane season in your community, start early. It may take more time this year to gather supplies of emergency food, water and medicines.
- Keep Food Safe from Germs
Prevent food-related illnesses by making sure to clean, separate, cook and chill foods properly. Learn about foods that can cause food poisoning and how you should handle them to keep your family safe.
- Prevent Injuries Due to Falls
Falls at home or on playgrounds are common causes of injuries. Supervise your kids and check to make sure the surfaces under playground equipment are made of wood chips or sand, not hard surfaces like grass or dirt.
- Buckle-up for Car Rides
Your children depend on you to keep them safe during car rides. Make sure they are properly buckled up in a car seat, booster seat or seat belt, depending on their age, height and weight. Learn how to buckle your child safely.
Review the CDC’s key prevention tips to help prevent road traffic injuries.
We’re Doing Our Part to Keep Your Family Safe
You can be confident when you visit any of our Centra Care urgent care centers or emergency rooms that we have extra safety precautions in place to protect you. Some of these include:
- Universal Face Mask Use. All patients and visitors will be given a mask to wear. AdventHealth care team members and physicians are required to wear surgical-grade masks. We have plenty of supplies and personal protective equipment on hand.
- Temperature Testing. Your visit won’t put you or other patients at risk. We are checking everyone’s temperature before they enter one of our facilities.
- Patient Cohorting. Rest assured that any patients or visitors with a fever or infectious illness are being cared for in a separate area.
- Social Distancing. We have social distancing measures in place, including floor markings and spaced-out seating, to help everyone remember to stay a safe distance of 6 feet apart. At many locations, you can choose to wait in your car and we’ll text you when it’s time for your appointment.
- Limiting the Number of Visitors. Some locations have limitations on the number of visitors per patient to help us keep waiting rooms at a safe capacity.
We’re Ready When You Need Us
We hope you and your loved ones have a safe, healthy summer. But if you need us, we’re ready to provide you with safe, expert Emergency and Urgent Care.