Advice for Dr. Mom: Summer Safety – First Aid and Safety Tips for Summer Fun
Summer is in full swing, which means more time spent outdoors, more bumps and bruises and more trips to visit Dr. Mom. Make sure you and your little ones enjoy the summer safely, follow these simple summer safety tips:
- Pool Safety: Lockable secure pool fence, working telephone at poolside, rescue equipment nearby, and even a laminated primer on CPR posted are summer safety essentials. The most important safety poolside feature is appropriate adult supervision by an individual who can swim.
- Safety at Beaches and Lakes: Always carry a working cell phone, park your gear near the lifeguard station (if present), ensure an adequate number of adults to supervise the kids (ideally 1 adult to 2 children), and establish rules about radius of play before entering the water.
- Boat Safety: Follow the safe boating rules: approved life jackets on and secured for all passengers, driving within speed limits, no drinking while driving, and avoid wakes and bumps.
- SPF 30 is recommended, with reapplication every 1 to 2 hours if wet, toweling off, or sweating.
- Liquid sunscreens should be applied at least 20 minutes BEFORE going outside in order to soak in and protect.
- Apply half an ounce (a palm-full) for kids and 1 ounce (a full shot glass) for adults to deliver the proper SPF.
- The key here is appropriate AMOUNT, and RE-APPLICATION.
- Sunglasses rated for UVA/UVB, if worn, can protect little eyes from solar damage and burns.
- A hat with brim at least 2 inches wide, along with wearing SPF rated play clothing and swimwear can protect large areas of your child’s vulnerable skin.
Bugs and Critter Safety
- Avoid wearing highly perfumed lotions or soaps when near bees and wasps as they are easily attracted to these smells.
- If your child is truly allergic to stinging insects, make sure you always carry an epi-pen, a working cell phone, and a blunt object (like a credit card or driver’s license) to drag out any stinger immediately.
- If hiking in tick infested areas (especially in the Northern and Eastern parts of the US and Canada), cover up as much as possible, wear a hat with hair tucked in. After hiking, bathe, and then inspect your young ones for embedded ticks (before they have a chance to snack). If found, grasp firmly with tweezers, pull out in one piece, wash, apply first aid ointment.
- Summer is a time of great fun, and the energy expenditure of kids soars as they run themselves ragged!
- Make sure to have hourly hydration breaks with cool fluids, and serve snacks high in water content, such as grapes and melons.
- If the day is scorching, return inside or to a shaded area for rest periods and plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration and overheating.
- When packing coolers, make sure you bring plenty of ice or frozen packs to keep food cool.
- If on the road for a whole day, it’s best not to bring foods that spoil easily like those containing mayonnaise or eggs.
- Don’t leave any food out longer than 15 minutes, and try to serve proteins on a bed of ice to minimize potential bacterial overgrowth.
- Solar Burns – Avoiding peak sun hours (between 10am and 3pm) may be difficult on a day-long trek. If your child must be out during these times, then make sure hat, sunglasses, and SPF clothing are part of daily life, as well as liberal and frequent sunscreen application.
- Recreational Burns – With barbeques being spiffed up for summer, hot surfaces and floating embers present obvious concerns for burns. If many little ones are around, best to place your grill away from the crowds and protect the perimeter with a barrier (or a backup adult to shoo away the wee ones). NEVER spray or pour fuel onto embers or open flame, and keep fuels away from heat as they can spontaneously ignite. Dispose of embers after they have cooled completely, and if at a campground, into appropriate containers.