The warm weather is here and with that comes the need for special precautions for summer safety. The American Academy of Pediatrics has published tips for families of all ages which may be found on their web site. When a family member has a disability, there may need to be some special attention given to unique planning, however, good safety is for everyone. Following are some specific tips and Enjoy Your Summer!!
- Infants should be kept out of the direct sun. The shade of a tree or canopy of a stroller will offer protection.
- Young children should be dressed in lightweight clothing that covers arms and legs and use hats with brims.
- Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside, and use sunscreen even on cloudy days. The sun protection factor (SPF) should be at least 15.
- Try to stay out of the direct sun between 10 am and 4 pm since that is when the sun's rays are the strongest.
- Everyone should drink plenty of water and caffeinated drinks should be avoided.
- Leaving children or adults who do not communicate well in the car during the summer heat even for a few minutes can put them in significant danger, even if the window is cracked.
- Never leave children or vulnerable adults alone in or near a swimming pool, even for a moment.
- Adults and older family members should be trained in life saving techniques and CPR.
- If you have a pool, be sure that it is surrounded on four sides with a five foot high fence and be sure that gates latch above the reach of young children.
- Keep rescue equipment such as a life preserver and a long pole near the pool. Bring a portable phone out whenever using the pool in case an emergency does occur
- Use only approved swim vests. Other flotation devices such as "floaties" give a false sense of security.
- Don't use scented soaps, perfumes or hair sprays on yourself or your family member when you are going to be outside for a long period of time.
- Repellents that contain DEET should have no more than 10% concentration since it is absorbed into the skin.
- Stay away from areas that attract bugs such as heavily flowering gardens, stagnant pools of water and uncovered food.
- Be sure that everyone wears shoes. Doing so will protect one from stepping on stinging bugs and sharp objects found at the park, beach or in the yard.
- To remove a visible stinger from skin, gently scrape it off horizontally with a credit card or your fingernail. You can also remove a stinger by pinching it out with a pair of tweezers.
Playground and Outdoor Safety
- Assure that all equipment is in good repair.
- Swings should be made of soft material such as rubber, plastic or canvas.
- Make sure metal slides are cool before use.
- Home trampolines are not recommended for children.
- If you are in a public park, select a meeting place in case someone gets lost.
- Parents or other responsible adults should carry pictures of children or vulnerable persons in their group.
- Teach everyone who to go to if in trouble (staff or park employee) and to stay away from strangers.
- Always wear a helmet and protective gear when riding a bicycle, skateboard, in-line skates, horses, motorcycles and ATV's. Assure that the helmet is properly worn and that the neck strap is secured. Be a good model and provide appropriate equipment for all members of the group.
- To reduce the risk of strangulation, never let children or vulnerable persons wear clothing that has drawstrings or loose straps while playing on playground equipment so strangulation will not occur. Drawstrings in the necks of children's clothing are now unapproved by the consumer protection agency. If you have items that still have strings, remove them!
- Know the plants in your area and teach your family not to pick or eat anything without checking with someone who knows. Carry the Poison Control number with you at all times.
Be Safe This Summer and Have Fun!