by
Alex Schultz

Summer Safety Checklist for Kids

The first heat wave is always a sharp reminder that we need to shift gears from protecting our children from the harsh cold of winter and chills of spring to the equally dangerous, but sometimes sneakier, perils of summer. How do we protect our children during summer activities when all they want to do is run and play (and that is what we want too)?

Being smart about the summer sun and activities doesn’t mean having to damper fun or avoid adventure. By making a few smart choices we can keep our kids safer and having fun longer. Some things to consider:

SUNSCREEN

With so many options for sunscreens available how do you make a smart choice for your family? Read labels to check for Broad Spectrum UVA+UVB protection. Zinc or titanium-based (zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) sunscreens are best as they are not absorbed into the body as readily as chemical-based  sunscreens. You may have noticed they take a little more effort to spread over skin, micronized sunscreens rub in easier, but they may be absorbed more deeply into the body, though the effects of this aren’t known.

WATER SAFETY

WEAR a life jacket. End of sentence. Make wearing life jackets during water sports as commonplace as wearing helmets for riding bikes and skateboards. Water accidents are the most common cause of death among outdoor adventuring kids and about 40% of those deaths were in kids not wearing a life jacket. It’s a simple step you can take this summer to keep your children that much safer.

HEAT EXHAUSTION & HEAT STROKE

Heat-related injuries are common place in summer. Learning to check the heat index for the day can help you plan out activities and breaks accordingly to keep kids from overheating. Heat index takes into consideration temperature and humidity to give you a better gauge of how hot our bodies will feel under those conditions. When the heat index is 105 or greater it’s important to limit activity to 30 minute increments, building in plenty of breaks for cooling off and encouraging plenty of liquid intake. Electrolyte beverages are best on the hottest days - Pedialyte, dilute apple juice (50% apple juice & 50% water), and even some homemade popsicle recipes!

Heat exhaustion can often sneak up on active kiddos and it’s important to notice the early signs to prevent injury or escalation to heat stroke. If you notice the symptoms below it’s important to cool off your child and head to the nearest Pediatric Urgent Care.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Fast pulse
  • Moist skin
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Core temperature of 100°F or more

Heat stroke is more serious than heat exhaustion and can be deadly if not treated quickly. If you notice the signs of heat stroke below head to the nearest emergency room or call 911 if you don’t think you can move your child safely.

Signs of Heat Stroke:

  • High blood pressure
  • Fast, irregular pulse
  • Dry skin
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Core temperature of 105°F or more

We wait all winter to enjoy the best that the summer has to offer and to share it with our families. Being proactive about summer safety will set you up to avoid the avoidable and enjoy the enjoyable.

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