Employee & Community Health

Be safe having summer fun!

6/15/2016 by Maria G. Valdes, MD

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School’s out, days are longer – it must be summer! While having fun this summer, play it safe: 

  • Protect against insect bites. Repellents with 10-30% DEET may be used on children older than two months, if needed, to prevent insect borne-illnesses. Preparations with 10% DEET generally last about 90 minutes; those with 30% DEET about five to six hours. Bug spray should be washed off at the end of the day. Light-colored clothing, long sleeves and pants also will deter insects. 
  • Wear your helmet. Kids and grown-ups alike should wear a helmet when riding a bicycle or motorcycle – this means passengers, too. They should meet Consumer Product Safety Commission standards.
  • Be a smart lawn mower. Children under 16 shouldn’t be allowed to use riding lawn mowers; children under 12 shouldn’t use walk-behind mowers. Pick up any objects like sticks or toys before mowing. Wear hearing and eye protection while mowing. Keep young children out of the yard until the mowing’s done.
  • Supervise kids around water. Drowning is the leading cause of injury and death in kids ages one to four. All children should be supervised by a responsible adult who can provided undivided attention when kids are in or around the water.
  • Wear a life jacket. Everyone in a boat, canoe, kayak or personal watercraft should wear a properly-fitted life jacket. 
  • Check out playground equipment. Make sure there are no loose chains, broken rungs, attached ropes or other hazards. Life jackets should be United States Coast Guard (USCG) approved. 
  • Stay cool when it’s hot. Avoid scheduling outdoor activities during the hottest time of the day. Anyone is at risk for heat-related illnesses, especially if they’re participating in strenuous activity, but infants and children up to age four are at greatest risk. Stay cool and drink plenty of fluids. Alcohol and caffeine may increase the risk of heat-related illnesses because they tend to increase urination and water loss.
  • Do a tick check. After a day outdoors, especially if you’ve been in wooded or grassy areas, check for ticks
  • Monitor social media. Talk with your kids about being careful with what is posted about a family vacation, which may let others know no one is home.
  • Watch kids around grills. Remember that even gas grills remain hot long after use.
  • Keep hot foods hot, cold foods cold. Use insulated containers and coolers to keep picnic foods at the proper temperature and avoid food-borne illness. Grilling tip: Never put cooked meat, poultry or fish on the same plate that held the uncooked food.

Dr. Maria G. Valdes is a primary care pediatrician in Employee and Community Health's (ECH) Division of Community Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine (CPAM).