Keep your summer fun and safe!
6/22/2020 by Chelsea Willson, APRN, CNP, DNP
Summertime brings us the joys of fresh cut grass, playing outdoors, and water activities. Now that COVID-19 is a factor in our lives, staying safe while making fun summertime memories takes on a new meaning. The following tips will help your family play it safe.
Bike and Scooter Safety
- All children and adults should wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle, bicycle, or scooter. The helmet should fit properly and meet Consumer Product Safety Commission standards.
- Keep a close eye on children under the age of 8 who ride a bike or scooter.
Drowning is the leading cause of death in children between the ages of 1 and 4.
- The best way to prevent drowning is to closely supervise children around open water — including kiddie pools, bathtubs, raised pools, lakes, etc.
- Children should wear a proper-fitting Coast Guard approved life jacket when they are near an open body of water or on a watercraft. As a good example, adults should also wear a life jacket.
- If you have a home pool, make sure your pool is surrounded by a fence that is at least 4-feet high and is separate from the house. The gate to the fence should be self-closing and self-latching, with the latch out reach of children. Pool alarms and door alarms may also be utilized. Purchase a pool cover that prevents children from falling under the cover.
- Enroll your child in swim lessons and teach your child the importance of water safety.
Preventing sunburn in children protects against skin cancer in adulthood.
- Prevent sunburn by applying sunscreen 15 minutes before going outside, regardless if it is sunny or cloudy. Choose a sunscreen that is broad-spectrum and water-resistant, with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30. Reapply the sunscreen every two hours — or sooner if swimming.
- Have your child wear sun-protective clothing and swim gear, including hats and sunglasses.
- Seek a shady spot while being outside.
- Children under 6 months of age should not wear sunscreen and are best protected by avoiding sun exposure. Wearing sun protective clothing is also appropriate.
Most fireworks injuries occur around the 4th of July.
- Watching a public display is the best way to safely enjoy fireworks.
- Abide by state laws and do not purchase fireworks illegally.
- Do not allow children to light or hold fireworks themselves. Monitor all children while around fireworks.
- Sparklers can reach to temperatures about 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit and are one of the leading causes of fireworks-related injuries. Sparklers are not recommended for children 7 years of age and younger.
- Apply bug spray with 10-30% DEET. Choose the lowest percentage of DEET needed (10% DEET lasts for 45 minutes and 30% DEET lasts for 5 hours). Do not apply bug spray to children who are 2 months of age or younger.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to help protect against insect bites.
- Check for ticks after walking in wooded or long, grassy areas.
- Keep a watchful eye while children are on playgrounds.
- Touch playground equipment to asses the temperature to prevent burns.
- The playground should not have loose chains, ropes, or broken equipment.
Each year, 9,000 children are injured in lawn mower accidents.
- Keep children inside while mowing the lawn.
- Never take a child as a passenger on a lawn mower.
- Children 12 and older may operate a push lawnmower, while children 16 and older may operate a riding lawn mower. Teach them how to safely operate the lawnmower. Ensure that they are wearing appropriate closed toe shoes and protective eye wear while mowing.
While people of all ages can succumb to heat exhaustion, children under the age of four are at an increased risk.
- Avoid scheduling activities during the hottest part of the day.
- Stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluids — preferably water or a flavored electrolyte drink.
- Offer frequent water breaks on hot days.
- Adults should limit caffeinated beverages and alcohol, as these are more dehydrating.
- Monitor infants closely. Children under the age of 6 months do not need water to stay hydrated and should be given breast milk or formula.
Chelsea Willson, APRN, CNP, DNP, is a pediatric nurse practitioner in Primary Care in Rochester and Kasson's Division of Community Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine (CPAM) at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.