With summer in full swing, many of us are heading outdoors with family. But it can be easy to let our guard down when it comes to safety. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure kids stay safe outdoors.
- Be careful of heat and sun. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warns that most sun damage occurs in childhood, and advises caution between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Babies under 6 months should avoid direct sunlight, wear brimmed hats and lightweight clothing that covers their arms and legs. Older kids should wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or greater. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before heading out and remember to reapply every 2 hours or after swimming or sweating.
Always check the back seat for kids or pets when leaving your car. Temperatures inside a parked car can hit 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes on a 90-degree day. There are apps available that will remind you to check your back seat once you reach your destination.
- Don’t mess around when it comes to water safety. Did you know drowning is one of the top causes of accidental death in children? Always make sure kids have your full attention when they’re in or around water. Learning the basics of swimming is also key. New guidelines from the AAP say parents should consider a child’s exposure to water, emotional development and physical abilities before enrolling kids under 4 in swim lessons. Fencing off your pool is a critical safety measure for your and neighbors’ kids. And learning CPR, available through the American Red Cross, is always a good idea.
- Watch those mosquitoes and ticks. These critters don’t have to put a damper on your outdoor fun, so make sure to use insect repellant that has DEET or another EPA-approved ingredient. Insect repellant isn’t recommended for babies under 2 months, so make sure their clothing covers their arms and legs and use mosquito netting over cribs, strollers and baby carriers. For everyone else, EPA has information on finding the right repellant for you. And remember – always apply sunscreen first, then your insect repellant.
Keep these tips top-of-mind the next time you head out and teach kids the importance of staying safe outside. If you spot a person or pet trapped in a hot call, call 911 immediately. For more information and local resources, call 2-1-1.