Sunburns, Bug bites and Zip Lines: Our best summer safety tips

Summer’s in full swing and things are steaming up outside.  Bugs are buzzing, the sun is blazing and the kids are in full summer mode!  For this week’s blog we talked with Dr. Stokes about how to stay safe with a few tips for summer fun.

  1. Locks! During the summer backyards are more enticing than ever for little guys.  Make sure that doors leading outside are locked AND have child proof protectors.   Door chimes can offer another layer of protection – alerting you if you have a little escapee.
  2. Be extra vigilant around water – whether that’s the ocean or a kiddie pool. Swim lessons are great, but they do not drown-proof kids.  Pool noodles and swim wings are also not sufficient flotation devices for young kids or beginning swimmers.   Approved swim pooljackets, adult supervision and locked doors and gates around pools are the holy trinity of water safety.  Here are even more water safety tips including boating safety, heat exhaustion and more.
  3. Wear helmets. On bikes, scooters, roller blades or anything with wheels, kids of all ages should wear a helmet.  Ziplines are great summer fun and many have special courses for young zippers.  Even on an easy course, make sure helmets are secure and fitted properly to protect the forehead.   Check out these great tips for getting your kid to wear a helmet and making sure it fits correctly.
  4. Keep biting bugs away. At the very least bug bites are itchy and keep kids awake at night.  At worst, scratched bites can get infected and insects like mosquitos and ticks can carry disease.   For the best protection, Dr. Stokes recommends products containing DEET (at concentrations under 30%) on kids over 2 years rather than natural products such as essential oils.  DEET containing sprays are also ok for younger kids (at least over 2 months old) but long sleeves and bug nets on strollers are effective as well.  Check out this handy chart from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  5. Avoid the burn and stay safe in the sun. One sunburn can ruin a week of day camp or an otherwise fun vacation.  And more seriously, just a couple of bad burns during childhood increases the risk of skin cancer as an adult.  For kids and babies over 6 months, Dr. Stokes recommends using an SPF of 30 or higher, preferably a zinc based barrier cream.  Remember to apply frequently, especially in the water, and don’t forget to the ears, neck, hands and top of the feet.   For babies younger than 6 months, light clothing that covers the body and staying in the shade are the best protection.  If a burn does happen, cool compresses offer the best relief. Here’s more info on sunburn prevention from the CDC.

If you have any concerns or questions at all about sunburn, bug bites or anything else, feel free to give us a call anytime!