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Summer Safety for Caregivers of Young Children

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Summer Safety Tips for Kids: What You Need to Know

We wait all year for summer, and for good reason. Summer is filled with discovery, learning and fun! But before you hit the beach, pool or park, make sure you and your caregivers brush up on key summer safety topics.

All the time we spend exploring nature during the summer months gives so much to our children. Mother Nature does wonders for their cognitive development. But summer safety—including protecting your child from sun exposure, bug bites and water danger and heat exhaustion—should be a part of every warm-weather adventure for anyone who is caring for your children.

As parents, it’s vital to have a conversation with your caregivers about summer safety and how safety routines will be integrated in your child’s day.

(Need help planning your child’s summer schedule? We have a great reference here!)

Protect Against The Sun

The Sun’s UV rays can damage skin in as little as 15 minutes. Ideally, you’ll want to limit your child’s exposure to the sun between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., when those UV rays are at their strongest.

Apply sunscreen 30-minutes before sun exposure, and reapply every 2-hours. Here’s a great list of good-for-you sunscreens that are also easy to apply.

With innovation in suncare, many summer clothing options come with added sun protection. Take advantage of UV-proof clothing, hats and eye protection.

All that summer sun beating down means your child will need to hydrate even more than normal. As temperatures and outdoor play time increase, hydrating every 20 to 30 minutes will be essential. Keep lots of water on hand.

Protect Against Insect Bites

Summer safety also includes protecting yourself from dangerous insect bites. Illnesses from bugs have tripled in the U.S. in the last 13-years, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

You can protect your children from insect bites by using a safe repellent. This guide from the CDC helps you find the ideal repellent.

And when you get home from your time in nature, make sure checking yourself and your child for ticks is part of the summer safety routine.

Follow Water Safety Rules

Water safety is of the utmost importance with little kids. Just a little bit of water can be extremely dangerous for young children; even 2-inches of water is enough to drown a baby or young toddler. Make sure you have clear conversations with all care givers that your child is never allowed to be around water unattended—that even includes your “water table” or water toys for babies or toddlers.
If your children will be in a pool or ocean swimming, make sure they are wearing a properly fitted flotation device. REI has a great guide of what type of personal flotation device your child should be wearing at each stage (and check out this Amazon list of Coast Guard approved toddler floaties).

Heat-Related Illnesses

Heat-related illnesses are more common in the summer months, and can affect children and their caregivers. Be aware of the signs for heat-related illnesses, including heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and do your best to take preventative measures when possible.

  • Heat Cramps are muscular pains and spasms caused by heavy exertion. Symptoms are abdominal and leg muscle pain. If symptoms occur, stop physical activity and move to a cool place and drink water. Apply firm pressure on cramping muscles or perform gentle massages to relieve cramping. 
  • Heat Exhaustion usually occurs when people exercise too heavily or work in warm, humid places where body fluids are lost. Symptoms include cold, pale and clammy skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea or vomiting, dizziness or exhaustion. If symptoms occur, move to a cool place, drink water and loosen clothes.
  • Heat Stroke is also known as sunstroke, which can be life threatening. Symptoms include a high body temperature (103 degrees F or higher), hot, red, dry or damp skin, a fast, strong pulse, headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion or losing consciousness. If symptoms occur, move the person to a cooler place immediately and lower temperature with cool cloths or a bath. Seek medical attention if necessary.

More Summer Safety Tips for Kids:

  • Stay Hydrated: Make sure your child is drinking plenty of water. Remind them to take a drink every 20-30 minutes.
  • Food Safety: Food-borne illnesses come around during the summer. Before eating, make sure to wash hands for at least 20 seconds. (And in the summer heat, make sure to throw away food if it’s been out for more than 2 hours!)
  • Bike Safety: If your child is riding a bike or scooter, make sure they wear a helmet every time they hop on their wheels.
  • First Aid: More time playing outside means more scrapes. Re-up your first aid kit, and consider packing one for on-the-go days.

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