by Amber White
ChiroHealthUSA Social Media Specialist
The school year is over and now it’s time for a little fun in the sun! What child doesn’t enjoy riding bikes all day, swimming laps in the pool, and hanging out at the playground until the sun goes down? And while spending time outdoors is great for children, a few hidden dangers can really spoil their summer fun if not taken seriously. Bug bites, sunburns, bacteria, and bone breaks are usually not a part of vacation plans. Summer for children can be great fun when the proper safety precautions are put into place. Learn how your kids can stay protected with the following safety tips.
The summer sun, while warm and inviting, can really do damage to a child’s skin. No one really enjoys a painful sunburn. To keep your child safe this summer, remember to apply sunscreen to your child’s exposed skin 30 minutes before they head outside and reapply every two hours. It’s best to dress them in light cotton clothing, hats with brims, and sunglasses. For infants, be sure to dress them in lightweight, long pants and shirts with wide-brimmed hats to cover their arms, legs, and neck. Also, apply sunscreen to any exposed skin. It is best to limit your child’s sun exposure to between the hours of 10 am to 4 pm when it is the warmest outside. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours and after swimming.
Playing outdoors when the humidity and heat are at their highest can quickly increase the risk of heat exhaustion. It’s best to limit intense activities to about 15 minutes or less during these times. You can lengthen these play times as your child’s body becomes more accustomed to the temperatures in the following weeks. Be sure your child is drinking water, or a non-carbonated beverage, every 20 minutes (even if they claim they aren’t thirsty) to prevent potential dehydration.
Never leave a child at the pool unattended. Small children should be monitored carefully to prevent them from falling into the water, and proper water safety gear should be worn. Ensure that rescue equipment is on hand in an easily accessible location. Have a telephone nearby in case of emergencies!
Be sure that a child’s bike is appropriate for their needs i.e., training wheels, coaster breaks, etc. An oversized bike is unsafe for an inexperienced rider. If your child requires a new bike, shop for bicycles with your child so that they can try out the bike beforehand to make sure it’s the right size and a comfortable fit. Your child should be able to comfortably stand with both feet flat on the ground when mounting the bike. Always be sure your child wears a helmet at all times!
Insects can be an annoying, potentially life-threatening, nuisance during your child’s outdoor playtimes. Experts recommend that you don’t wash your children with scented shampoos or soaps. Bright colored, floral prints on a child’s clothing can also attract insects. Do not let children play by stagnant water or flowers since insects that can carry harmful diseases tend to congregate in these areas. Have older children wear insect repellent with less than 30 percent DEET when playing near woods or fields. Organic bug sprays are available at your local market, or you can make natural repellents by soaking peppermint or garlic in water.