Safety Tips for Summer Fun
Fresh air is always the answer, but once we head outside to enjoy the summer weather, we face intense sunlight and/or temperatures, annoying bugs and energized kids who have a tendency to substitute fun for safety. The good news: taking proper precautions can ensure a fun, memorable day in the sun for both you and your family.
- Win the Bug Battle: As temperatures rise, bugs come out. Whether dealing with mosquitoes, ticks or chiggers, your best protection is bug spray that’s at least 10 to 30 percent DEET. The higher the percentage, the longer the repellent lasts. This can be mixed with sunscreen and is safe on children as young as 2 months old.
- Beat the Heat: The risk of heat illness goes up during exertion and with certain health conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. “Heat exhaustion symptoms include thirst, fatigue and cramps in the legs or abdomen,” said Dr. Ellison. “Left untreated, heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke, which is a medical emergency. Your best protection is to stay hydrated – carry a water bottle, drink fluids regularly and wear loose-fitting clothes.”
- Play Safe: Overly active children aren’t the only things to watch out for on the playground. Faulty equipment, playground surfaces and careless behavior can also pose risks. The playground surface should be soft enough to cushion a fall (look for wood chips, sand, pea gravel and rubber – either in shredded tire or rubber mat form), and the equipment needs to be a good distance away from fences. Check metal surfaces to make sure they are not too hot. Look for sharp objects and stay away from ropes that could wrap around your child. Leave the cell phone or iPad at home to ensure no distractions.
- Swim Smart: Use the buddy system when swimming, and be sure small children wear life jackets at all times. Water sports and alcohol are never a safe combination. “It’s also easy to get dehydrated because you’re losing water when you’re in the sun and replacing it with alcohol,” says Dr. Mosquera. “It quickly slows your reflexes, creating a dangerous situation on the water.”
- Prevent a Cookout Catastrophe: Warmer months mean more family cookouts and picnics but also an increase in foodborne illness due to improper handling techniques. Make sure your food is safe. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Wash all fruits and vegetables. Keep cooked food separate from raw food, cook food thoroughly and refrigerate food promptly. Always be sure your hands are clean.