Summer is a great time for the kids to get outside and play, but it can also expose them to some dangers. This doesn’t mean they can’t have their fun, but you can take a few steps to help them do it more safely. The doctors at Park View Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics in NYC suggest the following tips to help ensure a safe summer for kids.
Stay safe in the water
Kids love cooling off at pools, water parks, beaches, and other fun locations over the summer. Teach them how to swim at an early age, but don’t let this give you a false sense of security. Children still need constant supervision during any water-related activity.
If you have your own pool, make sure to have pool alarms that will activate if someone’s in the water unexpectedly, and also have a four-sided fence installed.
Protect your kids from the sun
Even a few serious sunburns can increase your child’s chance of having skin cancer later in life. Use a sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15, and it should also offer dual protection against UVA and UVB rays.
Apply sunscreen on your child whenever he or she is going outside. You should use a generous amount and reapply it often, especially if your child is sweating or gets in the water.
Recognize the signs of heat exhaustion
Being cautious when the temperatures are soaring is one of the most important things you can do to ensure a safe summer for kids. There are at risk of developing heat exhaustion and showing symptoms such as fatigue, muscle cramping, and extreme thirst. Help a child who’s having difficulties get into an air-conditioned area if possible, and if not, get them into the shade. Applying ice packs under their armpits and on the groin can also help them cool off faster.
In some cases, heat exhaustion may progress into heat stroke if it’s not treated, and this can be deadly. If you notice signs of heatstroke – such as a headache, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness – call 911 immediately.
Keep the insects away
Insect bites are not only annoying, but they can also cause diseases such as Zika and Lyme disease. Allergic reactions or infections can also result from insect stings.
Apply insect repellant on your children when they’re playing outdoors, and check them for any ticks or bites after they’re finished playing. Keep oral antihistamine (like Benadryl) handy in case of allergic reaction, and if your child has a known allergy to, for example, bee stings, keep an epinephrine pen (like an EpiPen) handy.
Watch out for poison ivy
Poison ivy can grow as a vine or shrub that’s in the grass or trees. To recognize it, look for a plant with three pointed, notched leaves per stem, and remember the saying, “Leaves of three, let it be.” Teach your kids this simple rhyme and show them pictures of poison ivy so they can learn to avoid it.
If they do come into contact with poison ivy, you should wash the affected area well and use hydrocortisone cream and an oral antihistamine to help provide relief.
To find out more ways to ensure a safe summer for kids as well as protect their good oral health, make an appointment today with Park View Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics. Call (212) 879-6518 today or fill out the form on this page to request an appointment.