6 Tips for Safe Family Fun
Plan ahead for safety to make the most of your outdoor adventures this summer.
Warm weather has arrived and is beckoning us to get outside and enjoy the many lakes, rivers and mountains this beautiful region has to offer. And don’t forget those summer staples like baseball games, swimming pools and backyard barbeques. But while you’re excitedly planning your family’s summer fun, don’t forget to plan for family safety. Establish safety rules, be prepared for mishap then let the fun begin. Here are a few pointers for keeping your family happy and healthy in your quest for summer adventure.
- Avoid overheating and dehydration. Infants and toddlers are especially vulnerable to heat, so it’s important to always have water on-hand and access to shade. Sangeeta Wagner, DO, Renown Medical Group, advises parents to be aware of the signs of dehydration in young children– dry mouth, crying without tears, urinating less often than usual, high fever or being unusually drowsy. If you do suspect that your child is suffering from a heat reaction or heatstroke, seek emergency medical attention immediately.
- Prevent and treat insect bites and stings. Protect your child from pesky insects by dressing them in lightweight, long-sleeve shirts and long pants. You can also apply non-DEET insect repellent to articles of clothing before dressing your child. If your child is stung, gently scrape the area with a credit card to remove the stinger. A paste of baking soda and water or a hydrocortisone cream can be applied to provide relief from pain and itching. If your child begins to experience a severe allergic reaction, including swelling around the face and lips, wheezing or shortness of breath, seek emergency medical attention immediately.
- Be aware of water dangers. Whether you are enjoying your backyard pool or spending the day at the lake, never leave an infant or toddler unattended near a body of water. Drowning can occur in less than an inch of water so it is important to remain alert at all times. Personal floatation devices such as life vests are always a good idea, but are not guaranteed to prevent drowning.
- Remember to apply (and reapply) sunscreen. Sunburn is one of the most common by-products of time spent outdoors. Always apply at least an SPF 15 sunscreen to exposed skin, and provide shade for your child whenever possible. Long-sleeve, loose clothing and wide-brimmed hats can also prevent overexposure. If sunburn does occur, over-the-counter topical treatments such as aloe vera gel can provide pain relief. If your child begins to feel ill or develops a fever, seek emergency medical attention.
- Know the causes and signs of heat rash. Hot weather can lead to blocked sweat glands that produce a mild, bumpy, red rash in the moist folds of your child’s skin. Cool, soapless baths can help calm the irritation. Applying cornstarch powder to the effected area and keeping it exposed to open air will usually help clear the rash up in two-to-three days.
- Identify and avoid poison ivy and poison oak. Contact with poison ivy or poison oak results in an itchy and weepy rash. Though uncomfortable, it is usually not dangerous. Soaking the affected area in cool water or massaging it with an ice cube and then allowing it to air dry several times a day can help alleviate discomfort and diminish the rash. If you or your child comes in contact with either of these plants, it is important to wash all items — clothing, backpacks, sleeping bags — as the oil from the plants can be transferred and spread the rash to others.
Other common injuries Dr. Wagner sees during the summer months at Renown Urgent Care include foot injuries from children playing outside barefoot. Always encourage the use of sneakers or sandals to protect your children’s feet from injury from foreign objects and hot surfaces. While riding bicycles, skateboards or using motorized toys helmets should always be worn to prevent head injuries.