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Help Keep Kids Safe This Summer with Dr. Henry and the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Safety Guide

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This is the time of year most children look forward to. The image of the sun shining, children playing, the scent of flowers, the taste of ice cream and the touch of dandelions all come to mind. All five senses activated and a feeling of happiness comes over you.

More than half of the time during the summer is spent outdoors. Here are some tips from The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to keep your children safe and happy during the warm weather. These recommendations can reduce the number of visits to Urgent Care or the Emergency Room during this season. 

Enjoy, Be Safe and Have Fun!

INSECT & ALLERGY SAFETY:

WHAT CAN BE DONE TO DECREASE THE CHANCES OF INSECT BITES?

  • Avoid scented soaps, perfumes or hairsprays
  • Avoid bright and flowery clothing
  • Avoid areas close to stagnant water
  • Check window screens at home for holes
  • When walking in woods or high grass, wear long sleeve shirts, long pants and socks to protect against ticks

SHOULD YOU USE A COMBINATION SUNSCREEN AND INSECT REPELLENT?

  • No, combination sunscreen and insect repellent should be avoided.
  • Sunscreen has to be applied every 2 hours and Insect repellent does not.

WHAT KIND OF INSECT REPELLANT SHOULD BE USED?

  • AAP recommends a repellent with 10% – 30% DEET, the most common active ingredient found in insect repellent.  The length of time of effectiveness increases with the percentage of DEET in the repellant.
  • DEET IS NOT TO BE USED FOR CHILDREN YOUNGER THAN 2 MONTHS OLD
  • Non-toxic  Lemon Eucalyptus oil  also works as an insect repellent

Although this recommendation is not from the AAP, placing dryer sheets in your pockets when outside has also been reported as an effective alternative to insect repellent.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU CHECK YOUR CHILDREN FOR TICK BITES?

You should check your children for ticks every day.

HOW CAN I PREVENT BY CHILD FROM GETTING AN ALLERGIC RASH?

  • Children should be taught at as soon as possible which flowers and plants not to touch.
  • An easy rhyme for a child to remember is, “Leaves of 3 don’t touch me!”

HELMET SAFETY:

WHO NEEDS TO WEAR A HELMET?

Everyone needs to wear a helmet when riding a bike. Parents should wear a helmet to set an example for their children. If your children see you wearing a helmet, they are more likely to wear one. It’s important to educate children on helmet safety to reduce the risk of head and brain injury.

HOW DO YOU CHOOSE A HELMET?

  • A proper helmet fits snug on your head but isn’t tight. It should cover the forehead but won’t tip forward or backward.
  • When the straps are fastened 2 fingers should be able to fit in-between the chin and the strap.
  • Protective gear such as wrist, elbow and knee pads should also be worn when riding a bike.

FIREWORKS SAFETY:

WHICH FIREWORKS ARE SAFE?

  • Parents need to be aware that no fireworks are safe for children. Many children play with sparklers but they can reach temperatures between 1000 to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit and can cause severe burns, blindness, scars and even death.
  • It is better to take children to a professional fireworks show than to set them off at home.

HOW SAFE ARE HOME TRAMPOLINES?

  • Even when children are supervised by an adult when using a trampoline, there’s a risk of serious injury. 
  • The netting around the trampoline DOES NOT prevent injuries. In fact, most injuries occur on the trampoline and not as a result of falling off of it.
  • One child should jump at a time.  75% of trampoline injuries occur when more than 1 person is jumping at the same time.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU DRINK WATER TO PREVENT DEHYDRATION IN WARM WEATHER?

  • Drinking water every 20 minutes will help prevent dehydration in warm weather. The goal is to stay hydrated to avoid overheating.
  • Drink plenty of fluids before going outside and when you’re outside.

Keeping your children safe this summer starts before even stepping outside. Make sure you take the right precautions so the fun doesn’t have to stop! Drink plenty of water, wear sunscreen every day, use the right bug spray, and always wear a helmet!

Lernice Henry, DO earned her Medical Degree from New York College of Osteopathic Medicine in Old Westbury, NY and completed her Residency in Pediatrics at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in Bronx, NY. She is Board Certified in Pediatrics and is seeing patients in Middletown.