Summer is just around the corner, and with it comes all sorts of fun. Children will be playing outdoors, joining local sports leagues, swimming and going on adventures. While these are all enjoyable activities and great ways to get children outdoors, they also pose some risks. During the summer, more children are injured than during any other season. Here are some tips to keep kids safe while they have fun:
Bug spray should be used any time children will be playing outdoors in the evening or in an insect-infested area. Sprays can limit bites from ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, black flies and other insects, although sprays cannot completely eliminate bites. The most effective sprays have DEET, but this can be detrimental to a child’s development. It should never be used on an infant. Alternative, non-toxic deterrents include picaridin and lemon eucalyptus oil.
Sunscreen is another essential spray of summer-time play. Traditional sunscreens are administered as a lotion, but there are also spray-on options. A minimum of SPF 30 should be used, and it must be reapplied throughout the day. Organic and natural choices are optimal.
Ticks are the most dreaded insect, because they cause serious diseases, such as Lyme Disease. In addition to spraying children, encouraging them to wear long sleeves in grassy and wooded areas reduces the risk of a tick bite. The final defense against ticks is frequent checks for them after everyone comes inside.
Going to the pool or beach is the classic summertime activity. It is cool and fun, and possibly deadly. Every year, children drown at pools and inopen water. Parents need to watch their children closely while at the pool or beach. The life guards do a very good job, but they cannot see everything. Parents also should be in close proximity to their children and know what the signs of drowning are.
Away from the water, bikes are another common summertime toy. Children enjoy riding them along sidewalks, roads and dirt paths. Obviously, the greatest danger of riding a bike is a head injury. Children should be forced to wear a helmet every time they ride a bike. Helmets should not be optional. In fact, somecities, such as Dallas, have made them mandatory for all cyclists.
Anytime a child goes exploring where there is not clearpath, they might run across poison ivy. Once one contracts poison ivy, they will likely have a red, itchy rash. Blisters and hives can accompany this rash. However, poison ivy can be easily avoided with a simple rule: “Leaves of three, let it be.” Poison ivy is easily identified, because its plants have three leaves. Experienced botanists can distinguish between poison ivy and other plants with three leaves, such as strawberries, but anyone who is unsure should stay away from the plant.
These tips can help children stay safe during the summer. In many ways, summertime is the best time of year for kids. They get to play, explore and learn on their own terms. By following these tips, children can continue to enjoy their summer.
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