Summer – a great time for a change of pace and activities, and a great time for rest and relaxation. Parents and other caregivers however, always need to be alert to prevent injuries and ensure the safety of those under our care.
The most common element of summer is increased heat and sun. Although a constant here in South Florida, care must be taken to balance the sun benefits of vitamin D with the increased risks of skin damage, skin cancer and cataracts.
Protective clothing and eyeglasses with a sun protective factor is a must. Sunscreen is also vital. Especially, frequent reapplication of sunscreen is more effective than applying it too thick but not frequently.
Hydration is also paramount! Water is the best and most important source of hydration. Be sure children are drinking every so often and not only when they are thirsty.
When we think summer, images of boating, pools and beaches come to our minds. And one of the best ways to manage the heat is also enjoying the water. No matter where you get it, there are lots of ideas for some wet fun. But how do you keep children safe in the water?
Just like there is a designated driver, kids need a designated watcher to prevent drowning. The designated watcher, needs to be focused (no cell phone, alcohol or other distractions). Supervision is key. Most drownings occur when kids are either alone or around a lot of people.
Children who know how to swim are not immune from drowning but less likely to drown. Flotation devices are helpful but need to be size and age appropriate. In Florida children under 6 must wear a USCG approved life jacket at all times on any vessel less than 26 feet in length. Children under 10 must wear USCG approved life jackets while on deck in a moving vessel.
Summer can be a fun time for families, especially when spent outdoors. Being aware of your surroundings and what your children are doing will help prevent a bump in those exciting plans you have. And remember, in case of any serious injuries or sickness please contact your pediatrician as soon as possible.
Dr. Norman Ruiz-Castaneda is a pediatrician in Miami, FL at Day & Night Pediatric Services. He is happily married to his wife of 37 years and has six children and eight grandchildren.
To find out more information about Dr. Ruiz-Castaneda, visit his profile page here.