It’s A Grand Life – Keeping Children Safe in Summer

It’s June, and soon, most children will be out of school. If you ask them which season is their favorite, I would bet they would overwhelmingly say summer. No more pencils, no more books…as the little ditty starts will be their theme song on the last day. Once home, backpacks will land in a corner not to be looked at, except by an adult cleaning it out, until the new school year begins. Depending on the age and situation, they will either rise early or sleep late, sit in front of a screen for hours or complain they’re bored (although no suggestions of something to do will appease them). If you manage to get your grandchildren outdoors, there are some things to remember to make sure their summer vacation is a safe one.

Sunscreen – It is very important to put sunscreen on any exposed skin when outdoors. Even on cloudy days, skin can get burned. Obviously, the more intense the sun is, the more often sunscreen needs to be applied. If you are at the beach or the pool, don’t think the water keeps the sun from doing skin damage. Sunscreen needs to have a SPF of at least 30. There are rash and sun guards for children to wear over or in place of their swimsuits that also offer some protection. Hats and sunglasses are also good ideas.

Hydration – Make sure you take plenty of water with you if you leave home, and drink it even if you don’t feel thirsty. Pack a cooler with water, ice, washcloths and ice packs. 

Stay Cool – Avoid strenuous activities and, on days of extreme heat, plan to be indoors with air conditioning or, at the very least, fans. The hours between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. are when the sun is the most damaging. Infants younger than six months old should completely avoid sun exposure. Overheating can result in dizziness, headache, nausea and fatigue. Heat exhaustion signs include heavy sweating and a rapid pulse caused by the body overheating. If not addressed, these could progress to a heat stroke – a very dangerous, life-threatening condition.

Water Safety – This one is very important. Never let a child out of your sight when there is water around. Children can disappear in a flash. Make sure someone has their eyes on them if you’re called away. Until they are proficient at swimming, children need to wear a life jacket. Most people think someone would notice if a child was in trouble in a pool. Unfortunately, it is a misnomer to think that people splash and cause commotion when in trouble. Drowning has been called a silent death. 

If you go out boating, all children should have life vests on. The boat should have life vests on board for everyone, but it’s crucial for kids. Do not let children sit at the back of the boat if idling frequently. The gasoline powered engine produces carbon monoxide – a very dangerous colorless and odorless gas.

Insect Bites, Stings & Rashes – Protect children from bugs that bite or sting by spraying any exposed body parts with insect repellent. If a sting happens, check to see if the stinger is still in the skin. If so, pull it out and wash the affected area, apply hydrocortisone cream or make a paste with baking soda. Get help immediately if a reaction is severe. If you plan on taking a nature hike, wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and crew socks. Immediately upon leaving the woods, check for ticks.

Be prepared by keeping a tote filled with items that could be used in case of a sting, cut, burn or any other small accident. Check the bag before heading out to make sure items with expiration dates are still current and things that have been used have been replaced. Most importantly, enjoy your grandchildren and make the times you spend together happy ones.

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