Summer is here, and while fun in the sun is great, safety is important too. Liz Zack, Editor of AmericanBaby.com, has some tips to keep your kids happy and healthy this summer.
Overexposure to the sun is one of the biggest hazards that children can face during the summer months. In addition to burns, children can suffer from heat stroke if they've been in the sun too long.
One great defense is sunscreen, but only if your child is old enough to wear it. "Any baby under six months, you should really rely on keeping that kid in the shade," says Zack. While Zack suggests SPF 15 or higher for older kids, a big hat and an umbrella is best for the little ones.
Kids love to play outside in the summer, but retrieving a baseball that's gone over the fence could be a hazard as well if children come in contact with a poisonous plant. Many parents don't realize that a child who touches poison ivy can spread the oil to other people as well. "You have a magic ten minutes after you get touched by that plant where the oil is on your skin. In that ten minutes, you can transfer it [to other people]," says Zack. Be sure to wash up as soon as possible.
Water safety is another issue during the summer. Certain life jackets are better than others. "You want to look for a life vest. Those are the safest things for your kids to wear," says Zack. It's best for parents to avoid "floaties", "swimmies" or ring-style flotation devices. Children can slide out of them or tip out of the innertube.
According to Zack, It's okay to start swim lessons once your child is four years old. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests starting lessons at this point as well.
With swimming comes swimmer's ear. "It's an infection in the outer ear," says Zack. To prevent this painful condition, it's best to dry your children's ears thoroughly as soon as they come out of the water.
Splinters are another common problem that children face during the summer months. While most splinters eventually work themselves out, there are several removal methods that parents can try if the splinter is bothering their child. "You can use tweezers to pull it out, you can actually use tape," says Zack. "You could soak it in some water to loosen it up."
Bugs are everywhere in the summer months, and with bugs come bites and bee stings. Zack suggests that it's best keep your child from looking and smelling like a flower to avoid painful bites or stings. "Cut down on fragrances... and don't dress them in bright colors," says Zack. Flower prints can attract bugs as well.
Some of the best preventative medicine, though, is adult supervision. Be sure to keep a close eye on your children this summer to help avoid potentially hazardous situations.
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By Erin Petrun
Copyright 2007 CBS. All rights reserved.