Sun and Water Safety Tips for Kids
By Pat Neverman, Practice Administrator
Muddy Creek Pediatrics – Dr. Todd Habel and Dr. Kathryn O’Malley
Mason, West Chester, Lebanon, Liberty Township
Summertime is fun time. While our Muddy Creek Kids will be outdoors enjoying the sunshine and water play, they may also have extended sun and heat exposure. Sun and water precautions should be used every day, year round but especially in summer when direct rays from the sun are increased and sunburn more likely. Its also a time when overcast skies and children playing in water may not realize they are being exposed to sun and excessive heat. Here’s what the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests for Sun and Water Safety. Please decrease your child’s risk by following these simple important tips.
- The first line of defense against harmful exposure to the sun is to cover up. Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours of 10 am and 4 pm.
- Babies under the age of 6 months should stay out of the sun.
- On both sunny and cloudy days apply sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater to children before they leave the house in the morning if they will be outdoors or 30 minutes before they will be going outside. Be sure to apply enough sunscreen and reapply every two hours, and after swimming or sweating.
- Send sunscreen with your child to school, daycare, and camp.
- Use extra caution near water and sand (and even snow) as they reflect the harmful rays from the sun and may result in sunburn more quickly.
- Children should wear a hat with a 3 inch brim or bill facing forward, sunglasses with 97% – 100% protection, and sun protective clothing when outside. Don’t forget to still apply sunscreen to their face as hats and glasses will not provide full protection.
- The intensity of activities lasting more than 15 minutes should be reduced whenever high heat or humidity reach critical levels.
- Before outdoor physical activities, children should drink freely and should not feel thirsty. During activities less than one hour, water alone is fine. Kids should always have water or a sports drink available to take a break to drink every 20 minutes while active in the heat.
- Clothing should be light colored and lightweight limited to one layer of absorbent material to facilitate evaporation of sweat. Sweat saturated shirts should be replaced by dry clothing.
- Practices and games played in the heat should be shortened and there should be more frequent water/hydration breaks. Children should promptly move to cooler environments if they feel dizzy, lightheaded or nauseated.
- Always check the back seat to make sure all children are out of the car when your arrive to your destination.
- Be especially aware of kids in the car when there is a change from the routine such as you take a different route or someone else is driving them to work or child care.
- Have your child care provider contact you if your child has not arrived within 10 minutes of the expected arrival time.
- The inside of your car can reach dangerous temperatures quickly, even when the outside temperature is not hot. Never leave a child alone in a car, even if you expect to come back soon. Lock your car when it is parked so children cannot get in without supervision.
- Never leave children alone near water, even for a moment; close supervision by a responsible adult is the best way to prevent drowning. Less experienced swimmers and children under the age of 5 in or around water should have an adult – preferably one who knows how to swim and perform CPR – within arms length, providing “touch supervision”.
- Children, even experienced swimmers, should never swim alone. Even good swimmers need a buddy.
- Designate a “water Watcher” when children are in or around water. Because drowning can be quick and quiet, the water watcher should pay constant attention, be undistracted, not involved in any other activity such as reading, playing cards, on the phone while supervising children in water play even if lifeguards are present.
- Follow posted posted pool and boating safety rules at all times. Make sure rescue equipment is readily available such as shepherd’s hook or life preserver.
- For more information please visit https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/pages/sun-and-water-safety-tips.aspx.
Paying attention and using recommended safety tips is a sure way to have an enjoyable summertime. We hope you will consider putting these tips into your routine in order to make summer safe for our Muddy Creek Kids.