Many families head outside for one last outing before school starts. Whether in the water or in the hills, on the ball diamond or in the backyard, protecting family members from sun, insects and injury is essential. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website includes family health information. A summary of their tips for staying safe is included below. For more information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/healthequity/features/kidsafety/index.html.
- Mastering water safety. Swimming is a great way to cool off and exercise. however, drowning is the leading cause of death in children 1 to 4 years old.
- Supervise children at all times when they are in or around water.
- Teach children to swim so they feel comfortable and confident in the water.
- Helps prevent waterborne diseases. Talk to kids about not using the pool as a bathroom, encourage bathroom breaks, and change toddlers’ diapers often.
- Install a four-sided fence around backyard pools.
- When boating, kayaking, paddleboarding, or other water sports, make sure everyone is wearing a properly fitting life jacket.
- Be careful with the sun. Even healthy children and adults can overheat or get sunstroke when participating in strenuous activities in hot weather. If someone shows signs of heat exhaustion, move them to a cool place and see a doctor. The CDC’s website includes a list of signs to look out for.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Schedule outdoor activities in the morning and evening.
- Seek the shade. UV rays are most harmful at noon. If you need to be outside, sit under a tree, bring an umbrella, or use a pop-up tent.
- Take cool baths or showers.
- Use a sunscreen with at least an SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 and UVA (ultraviolet A) and UVB (ultraviolet B) protection when outdoors. A few serious sunburns can lead to skin cancer in years to come.
- Wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your scalp and eyes.
- Protects against ticks and mosquitoes. Zika, West Nile virus and Lyme disease can be transmitted by insects.
- Use an effective insect repellent. Products containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 and certain natural oils provide long-lasting protection. Miticides (a pesticide) can reduce ticks, but should not be used for complete protection.
- Check yourself and your children for ticks after being outdoors, especially if you’ve been camping or hiking. If you find a tick, instructions for effectively removing it are available on the CDC’s website.
- Prevent injuries. Falls at home and on the playground are common causes of injury and trips to the emergency room.
- Make sure play areas are well maintained and have soft landing areas.
- Wear appropriate protective gear when playing sports.
- Teach family members basic first aid.
- Inform family members of potential fire hazards and what to do, whether it’s camping or grilling in the yard.
Enjoy the rest of the summer and stay safe out there!
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