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Summer Safety by Dr. Liz

June 18, 2010

By Dr. Elizabeth Walenz with Methodist Physicians Clinic

I love summer! With summertime appointments, I like to spend a little time talking about summertime safety.

First, sunscreen.  If a child is going to be outside for longer than 10 minutes during the day, parents should apply sunscreen.   Start applying sunscreen at 4 months of age, (just a small amount on sun- exposed areas). I recommend a sun hat as well to protect the child’s face and scalp. I advise parents to try and avoid the really hot times of the day between 10 a.m. and -2 p.m..   Kids spend a lot of time outside in the summer,  which is great!  However, studies have shown that  there is a high risk of skin cancer if a child gets a bad sunburn.   So protect the skin! I recommend sunscreen with an SPF of 50 to -55.

Next, helmets! If you skate, scoot, bike or blade, you should wear the right equipment.  One of the most important things to wear is a helmet on your head. I tell my patients that this is not because they are a bad bicyclist, but because we have to think about the unexpected:  the small animal, the crack in the sidewalk, the small child that darts in front of your wheels and causes you to lose your balance and fall.  We have to protect the brain. The brain is inside the head, so we wear a helmet on our head to protect our brain! Dr. Liz wears her helmet and so should her patients.

Third, water safety. Kids love water and during a 90 degree day with 100  percent humidity, who doesn’t love a pool? However, we need to watch everyone closely.  Little ones who have mastered the art of walking, may also think they can swim.  Keep a good hand on every child as they enter the pool.  Floaties are fun, but they are not meant to be a life -saver.  School age kids should swim with a swim buddy and always alert their parents where they are going to be in the water.  On lakes, and boats, kids should always wear life jackets.

Finally, bugs! Evening  is a great time to catch fireflies;, however, there are quite a few other bugs out on the humid nights. If you are camping, be sure to pack the bug spray! For younger children who are at least a year old, recommend the family brands of OFF and Cutter, which have lower percentages of DEET (7 percent is appropriate).  Long sleeves and long pants will also help to protect the skin from bites and mosquito-borne illnesses, such as West Nile Virus.

Have a safe, happy summer!

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 21, 2010 4:58 pm

    Definitely some good tips.

    Some great information to have, especially with bugs and the sun both at full force this summer!


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