The summer months are a great time to get outdoors and let children explore the world around them. These tips will ensure that the fun doesn’t need to end due to sun damaged skin, dehydration or water-related accidents. Read on and have a safe summer!
The Skin Cancer Foundation warns that “Just one blistering sunburn in childhood more than doubles a person’s chances of developing melanoma later in life.” This means that no matter what a child’s skin tone may be, protecting their skin from the sun’s harmful rays is an absolute must. Here are some skin safety reminders for children 6 months and older:
- Choose broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.
- Spray sunscreen is great for wiggly little ones, but should not be sprayed directly onto their face. Instead, spray the sunscreen mist into your hands first and then apply carefully to the child’s face and ears.
- Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours or after swimming and excessive sweating.
- Use hats and sunglasses for extra protection
While sunscreen can be a wonderful protectant for older infants and children, parents and caregivers should avoid using sunscreen on babies who are less than six months old because the infant’s skin is still too sensitive for most sunscreens. Keep young infants’ skin safe by
- Dressing babies in lightweight clothing that covers the infant’s arms and legs.
- Dress infants in wide-brimmed hats that will protect their ears, neck and face.
- Use a protective cover on your stroller to keep baby from being burned while out for a walk.
Hooray for Hydration
BabyCenter.com warns that summer heat can be a significant catalyst for dehydration; especially for children who “are less likely than adults to remember to drink fluid-especially when they’re having fun playing outside.”
Adults can encourage children to drink more water throughout hot summer days by
- Keeping a water bottle handy. Kids are more likely to remember to take a drink if they see that water is available!
- Serve hydrating snacks like watermelon, cucumber slices and popsicles made with real fruit juice.
- Add fun flavors to your water with fresh fruit, like sliced strawberries, pineapple and oranges. This is a much healthier alternative to artificially flavored and dyed beverages like sports drinks and soda, which can contain a ton of sugar and are less effective in hydrating hot children.
- Remind kids to stop and take a drink throughout the day.
Important reminder: Just like sunscreen, water is not safe for young infants who are less than six months old. Babies 0-6 months typically receive as much water as they need through breast milk and formula. Too much water can cause water intoxication. For more information about when to introduce babies to drinking water, visit www.healthychildren.org.
When children are properly supervised, water play is a fun way to beat the summer heat. While many adults are aware of the danger that is present at the beach or a swimming pool, caregivers must never forget that drowning can occur even in shallow wading pools and water tables. Whether you’re poolside or at home, these tips will help your family enjoy water play safely:
- Give children undivided attention when playing in or near open water. Avoid distraction by putting cell phones away so that children are actively supervised at all times.
- Teach children how to swim.
- If there are several adults present while children are playing in or around water, designate a ‘Water Watcher’ who oversees water play for specific increments of time to prevent any lapses in adult supervision.
- Teach children to swim and play in water only when an adult is present.
- Learn CPR so that you are able to assist if there is ever an emergency.
For more water safety tips and guidance about designating a ‘Water Watcher,’ visit www.safekids.org