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SUMMER SAFETY FOR KIDS – PREVENTION IS KEY!

As you prepare to take your brood out for some much needed outdoor time, we have assembled some details to remember before you leave the house.

BUMPS, CUTS AND SCRAPES ON LITTLE NOGGINS, ARMS AND LEGS

It’s just a No-Brainer, keep a well-stocked first aid kit with you on your travels – in the car, RV or at the campsite. Have Ziplock style bags on hand to fill with ice in case you need a quick and easy ice pack. A STANDARD First Aid Kit offers a variety of bandages, antiseptics and ointments.

SAND IN THE EYE

Always make certain you have a bottle of sterile eye wash. Flush the eye with a steady stream of saline.  Flush for up to 15 minutes, checking the eye every 5 minutes to see if the foreign body has been flushed out. The sand can create minor scratches to the cornea but you can fully recover in 1 – 3 days. But be cautious that deeper scratches caused by eye rubbing can cause long-term problems and do not hesitate to see a physician if the problem continues.

SUNBURN

By now, most parents are fully aware of the damage that the sun can do. Protect yourself and your kids from harmful rays and sunburn by applying sunscreen of an SPF of at least 30. Unprotected sun exposure is even more dangerous for kids who have moles or freckles, very fair skin and hair, or a family history of skin cancer. Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure and 30 minutes after exposure begins, then reapply after kids have been swimming or sweating.
Plan some indoor activities during mid-day when the sun is at its strongest. Set up your ‘space’ under a tree, a pop-up, canopy or umbrella. When possible, dress the kiddos with hats, long-sleeved shirts, long pants or skirts, and don’t forget the shoes! Some clothing manufacturers make UV protective clothing that work well in conjunction with sunscreen, glasses and hats. Keep some burn jel or aloe in your First Aid Kit.

ALLERGIES

Immersing yourselves in the great outdoors can be a wonderful thing, but if anyone has allergies, it can really put a damper on the outing. Always bring a children’s acetaminophen, antihistamine and/or a nasal spray – Oh, and don’t forget the soft, tissues with lotion.

INSECTS & SNAKES

Bees are attracted to flowers, so don’t put fragrances or floral-patterned clothing on kids. Likewise, don’t leave out open containers of food and drink, and if your kid’s clothes get stained, change them. Should a bee land on or next to your child, remain calm and gently blow it away. Keep some hydrocortisone and children’s Benadryl in your FA kit.

Mosquitoes also are attracted to fruity and floral scents, so keep that off your little ones. Lather them up good with some DEET or lemon eucalyptus as it’s a natural ingredient in mosquito repellents. They can see dark objects easier than light ones, so dress them in lighter colors. Grab some citronella candles to burn around your camp.

I can rattle on (pun intended) and on about Rattlesnake safety – in short, keep them in proper shoes, not flip-flops, keep them off of rocks, logs and read our blog on Summer Safety Tips.

                                                                   WATER SAFETY

• Learn CPR, you could save a life.
• Parents, put down the cell phone and pay close attention to your kids when in or near the water.
• Weak swimmers should have an adult within arms reach
• Never trust “water wings”.
• Talk to your child about water rules.
• Because swimmer’s ear is caused by germs that invade the ear canal due to excess moisture, dry the outside part of the ears after water play to minimize exposure.
• Do not allow floatation devices to act as a safe place for your kids. Young swimmers need to have a *swim vest on to assist them to adapt to the water.
• Everyone needs an approved Life Jacket when on or near any lake, stream, watercraft or boat.

*A swim vest is not considered a personal flotation device but a swim aid. This means that it is designed to help children who are learning to swim or who are not yet completely comfortable in the water. It is not guaranteed to keep a child’s head above water, and it is not Coast Guard approved.

BIKE SAFETY

Wear a helmet and make sure it is free from cracks and it is a good fit. Add reflectors to their helmets and on their bikes to make certain they are seen Teach them the rules of the road, riding on the right side and never let them ride at night. Agree to have a check in time often.

                                              HEAT STRESS

Raspberry mint infused water

Water, Popsicles, Gatorade or Sqwincher! Keeping it real, soda, flavored milk and sugary fruit drinks offer zero nutritional benefit and will not provide hydration. Water, water, water. Make a lemonade with Agave nectar instead of sugar or try adding berries, cucumbers, mint leaves or citrus wedges to their water.

FOOD SAFETY

Watch for cross contamination and proper temperature storage. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. It’s an obvious statement but bacteria multiply rapidly within the “danger zone” between 40° and 140° It is recommended that you keep two coolers for your camping trip – one for drinks and snacks and another one for more perishable food. Use and replenish ice and or frozen gel packs. It’s also a great idea to pack your meats in Ziplocs and freeze them prior to your leaving on a trip. Also keep a dispenser of disposable wipes or biodegradable soap for your hands and for quick clean ups.

 

FIREWORKS

Parents, don’t be tempted to allow your children to light up or hold fireworks of any kind. Even sparklers need close parental super vision. Sparks can fly into eyes, and on their skin. For kids under 5 years old, sparklers accounted for 65% of firework-related injuries. ¹ Did you know that sparklers can reach 1,800 F hot enough to melt gold? ² Never allow kids to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode at any time. Also, having a large pail of water for firework disposal is the best way to prevent flare-ups.

BBQ AND CAMPFIRE BURNS.

Always keep a close eye on the kiddos when there is a hot campfire or BBQ lit. Teach them how to stop, drop and roll in case their clothing catches fire. Also draw a barrier around the campfire to let them know that is as close as they get! If roasting marshmallows for yummy S’mores, provide them with a long stick or branch. Also let them know that only an adult can feed the fire. It’s not over when the fire has been extinguished… Hot embers and coals can remain hot and can still burn. Keep the kids away!!

HOT CARS CAN KILL

Most of you know this, but please, never leave your child or pet in a car! NEVER! The temperature in a car rises quickly in the first 30 minutes, even on a cool day. It takes only a body temp of 104 degrees Fahrenheit for heat stroke to occur. 107 degrees us usually fatal. A child’s body warms up 3 – 5 times faster than an adult’s body. ³

Know where the closest clinic or hospital is in case of a more serious injury or ask campground staff what phone number to call for after-hours emergency help and as always, call 911.

Having a complete First Aid Kit along with some extra items will help to care for those kiddos during your family vacation. Teach your kids safety and respect for nature. Prepare them for what to expect when cohabitating outside and how to keep safe. This will be one of the greatest memories of their lifetime, and yours!

¹ According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission
² According to Old Harding Pediatric Associates
³ According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
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