When you are out in the sun with your children, it's important to keep them covered up. Visit the pool or beach in the morning when kids have energy and the sun isn't too strong. The prime time is before 10am. Use cover ups and look for a sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. It appears white on your child's skin, but it's an easy way to tell if you have applied it to all areas. And reapply after swimming or sweating.
At the playground, you should be aware of your surroundings. Check the equipment your children want to play on. Give the monkey bars a once over and make sure they are sturdy. Check that equipment is housed on beddings of mulch, sand, pea gravel, or rubberized product. Anything but grass or cement. The softer surfaces best absorb shock if your child falls.
Keep your kids away from swing sets. Swings can be a danger zone, especially if your child walks in front of the swings. Also, make sure they keep their shoes on. Mats and other hot playground equipment can burn the bottoms of kids' sensitive feet.
When you decide to share the joys of nature with your children, pile on the accessories. Make sure your child is wearing socks, shoes and a hat. Extra clothing will cut his chances of coming into contact with ticks or poison ivy. Also, cut discomfort with creams. Reactions to poison ivy, oak and sumac plants are all similar- itching, redness and blisters. If your child can't stop itching, apply calamine lotion but not too often as it's easy to overdose.
Also, dress your baby in neutral, unpatterned clothing. Bees are drawn to bright and busy clothes. And if by chance your child is stung, don't pull the stinger out. Instead, use a credit card to gently drag it out with the venom sac attached. This reduces the spread of venom and lessens baby's reaction.
And finally, if you are traveling to distant places, dress your child in comfortable clothes and bring a car seat on board the plane. All airlines should allow one if the baby has her own seat. Board the plane early and install it the same way you would in a car. While the plane is taking off and landing, have a bottle or pacifier ready to help ease the pressure on your child's ears. And in a pinch, pack a "just in case" bag. You never know what might happen on the trip.
For more tips on this and other parenting advice, visit www.AmericanBaby.com.
by Jenn Eaker