Seven Summer Safety Tips for Kids and Teens
The summer season officially kicks off June 21st, but warmer weather and sunshine could already be a part of daily life where you live. As we move away from cold weather concerns like the flu, there are still important considerations parents of kids and teenagers should keep in mind throughout the summer.
Pacific Family Practice knows that keeping your children healthy and safe all year round is a top priority, and we’ve compiled seven summer safety tips to help make these efforts a little easier.
Of course, we recognize that temperatures in San Francisco do not tend to exceed the 50’s and 60’s, but summer is a popular time for family vacations to warmer, sunny climates. Additionally, temperatures can vary day to day, so even smaller increases can impact your overall health and sun exposure.
1. Protect skin – Even when mild, sunburn is still skin damage. It’s very important that kids and teens are aware of proper sun protection and that steps are taken (every day!) to ensure that skin is covered when possible or protected via sunscreen. Sunscreen needs to be reapplied throughout the day, and not every brand is sweat / waterproof, so you’ll need to read packaging to ensure all needs are met. Light layers and hats are encouraged when possible. And sunscreen needs to be applied at least 30 minutes before sun exposure takes place. More serious sunburn (covers larger areas of the body, blisters, bubbles, pus, etc.) will require a visit to your child’s physician.
2. Hydrate – Hydration is key every day, but especially during warmer months when we are more susceptible to dehydration. This is particularly important for those children and teens playing summer sports or attending camp where they are likely to spend large parts of the day outdoors engaging in physical activity and will easily sweat out most of their liquid intake. Signs of dehydration include dry mouth, severe thirst, fatigue, headache, bright yellow urine, dry skin and / or dizziness.
3. Temperature watch – This can vary widely by location, but if you live in an area where heat warnings occur, take them seriously. Young children and the elderly are most at risk for dehydration and syncope during high temperatures.
4. Bug protection – Most bug bites are not dangerous, but that does not mean you can assume children and teenagers won’t need protection. Be sure to check in with the CDC regarding outbreaks of illnesses in your area, like the Zika virus and West Nile virus.
5. Street safety – As kids and teens are more likely to be at home during the summer, it’s essential to inform / remind them about street safety. Walking, running, biking, skating and otherwise playing in the street are all part of summer fun, but cars / trucks / buses use those same roads every day. Children need to be aware (even when they have right-of-way) that people driving may not see them, and that they can’t assume all adults are aware of their presence near or on a street.
6. Pools / swimming – Pool safety is critical during the summer. Drowning can take place in less than a minute. Younger children need to be properly outfitted to spend time in or near bodies of water, and supervision at all times is essential. Teens need to be aware of everyone at a pool and take care to avoid injury and note signs of drowning. CPR training can begin as early as age nine or ten.
7. Emergency planning – Children and teens should be aware of what to do in an emergency. Parents should talk to their children about using 911 correctly, as well as how to call local police services for non-emergency situations. Cell phone numbers of family members and trusted friends should be easily accessible.