Keep Your Kids Safe this Summer!
Transitioning from the busy school year into summer days can be an exciting time for kids and families. However, the fun that comes with summer sometimes leads to unexpected Emergency Department (ED) visits. ED Physician and Division Chief of Pediatric Medicine David Dorfman, MD, wants you to stay safe this summer, whether you’re at the beach, in the pool, or in your own backyard.
Protect Yourself While in the Sun
Heat related illnesses are very common in the summer months. Being outside in extreme heat can cause exhaustion, cramps, and heat stroke. These happen when the body’s ability to cool itself is overwhelmed. Infants and young children are at highest risk. There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself and your children:
- Wear light-colored, loose fitting clothing. Babies under 6 months should be dressed in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and hats that shade the neck to prevent sunburn.
- Schedule outdoor activities for the coolest times of day - morning and evening.
- Stay cool with showers and baths, and go under shade or indoors during the hottest part of the day.
- Before outdoor activity, children should drink until they do not feel thirsty, and always take a break to drink every 20 minutes while active in the heat.
- Never leave infants or young children in parked cars, even with the windows cracked open
- Apply sunscreen of SPF 15 or greater that protects from UVA and UVB rays, every time you go outside (especially between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM when sunlight is at its strongest). Reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming.
Water activities are a popular way to have fun while keeping cool on hot days. It’s important to always ensure that children are supervised while in a pool, lake, or in the ocean. If boating, children should always wear a life jacket.
- Never leave young children alone near water, even for a moment. Children should have constant adult supervision when swimming.
- If you own a home pool or outdoor hot tub, make sure it is enclosed by a fence at least 4 feet high.
- Wear well-fitting life preservers when boating.
- Teach your kids to swim. Formal swim lessons lead to a lifetime of fun, safe water exercise.
- Never swim alone. Even good swimmers need buddies!