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Seven Ways To Keep Your Child Safe This Summer

Jennifer Ong, MD

Keep infants and children safe from summer injuries by following these seven tips.

  1. Use sunscreen. Prevent painful sunburns and long-term skin damage by applying SPF 30 or higher every two hours. Reapply sunscreen after swimming or if your child has been sweating. Sunscreen is safe for infants six months and older. Because sunscreen loses its potency over time, and especially if exposed to heat, you should buy a fresh bottle every year.
  1. Ward off bugs. Avoid insect bites by wearing pants and long-sleeve shirts and using insect repellent. Look for bottles with 10-30 percent DEET. You can safely use insect repellant on infants as young as two months old. Simply apply it once per day and rinse the skin off before putting babies and kids to bed.
  1. Drink up. Keep children from becoming dehydrated by offering water or sports drinks every 20-30 minutes during activities. Plan ahead to make sure you have enough fluids for where you’re going and what you’re doing. Kids who are getting enough to drink will need to use the bathroom frequently.
  1. Prevent falls. Monkey bars, pick-up games, and bicycling can all lead to falls and fractures. Watch kids to make sure they don’t take unnecessary risks and provide the right protective gear for the sport—whether it’s a helmet or knee pads.
  1. Beware of windows. Toddlers can easily tumble through window screens. Open second-story windows wide enough to let a breeze in, but not so far that a child could fit through.
  1. Watch the pool. Assess your child’s swimming ability and the safety of the pool or body of water. Is there a lifeguard on duty? How deep and clear is the water? Once your child is in, monitor them closely. Have them tell you when they are getting in and out of the pool. Remember, people don’t wave or call for help. They’re more likely to gasp silently. If your child has inhaled water while playing, watch for signs of secondary drowning.
  1. Check the backseat. Leaving a child in a hot car can be an unintentional, yet deadly mistake. Infants and young children often don’t have the words to talk or will fall asleep on the ride, making it easier to forget them—especially when their car seat is rear-facing. Get in the routine of putting an essential item, like a purse, near the car seat as a reminder. Make it a habit to always check the backseat before exiting the car.

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Dr. Jennifer Ong is a family medicine physician at Vancouver Clinic. She enjoys getting to know patients and their families, and serving individuals of all ages.