Summer is just around the corner. To help keep your kids safe and healthy, the following tips are recommended by ValleyCare Medical Foundation Pediatrician Christi Klimisch, MD.
For babies and children over six months, use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher and UVA/UVB protection. Apply every two hours and after swimming. Sunscreen is not recommended for babies less than six months. Keep infants covered with a hat and light clothing.
If your child does get sunburned, apply a cool compress several times a day and gently apply moisturizing cream. Give ibuprofen (if older than 6months) as needed to relieve pain, and offer extra fluids to replace those lost in the sunburn. If your child has fever, chills, blistering, or is less than one year of age, call your child’s pediatrician.
Poison oak contains an oily substance that can cause an allergic reaction to the skin. The reaction usually occurs several hours to several days after the exposure, forming itchy bumps and blisters. Teach your child to recognize the plants so they will avoid them.
If your child does come into contact with poison oak, wash the area thoroughly with soapy water to remove as much oil as possible. To relieve itching, soak the affected area in cool water or rub gently with an ice cube several times a day. You can also apply a hydrocortisone cream. If your child has a reaction on the face, genitals, or over a large area of the body, call your child’s pediatrician.
It’s important to prevent and recognize heat-related illnesses like dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Teach your children to drink plenty of fluids before and during activity, even when they're not thirsty. Try to schedule vigorous activities for the cooler parts of the day, and dress your child in light, loose-fitting clothing.
Heat-related illnesses occur when the core body temperature is elevated and there is an excessive loss of body fluids. Heat exhaustion occurs first -- symptoms may include: clammy skin, nausea, dizziness, muscle cramps and headache. If your child experiences these symptoms:
- Move them to a cool area
- Loosen their clothing
- Dampen the skin with a cool cloth
- Have them drink cool water/sports drinks, slowly
If left untreated, heat exhaustion may progress to heat stroke. Signs of heat stroke include: fainting, confusion, decreased level of consciousness, and core body temperature of >104 degrees. Heat stroke is a medical emergency---seek medical attention immediately.
Never leave a child unattended in or around a pool, not even for a second. Practice “touch supervision” with young children – an adult should be within an arm’s length of the child at all times. Ensure that your pool is properly fenced and rescue equipment is nearby. Swimming lessons are helpful, but doesn't mean your child is safe without supervision.
Playground and Sports Safety
Always use helmets and protective gear while riding a scooter, biking, skating and skateboarding no matter how short the ride. Use bike paths, sidewalks and skate parks.