Summer is here and that means time for fun in the sun. The warm weather is a great reason for families to enjoy time outdoors at local beaches, in the backyard, or at a park. With so many fun opportunities for young children to enjoy, it is especially important for parents to be aware of summer safety tips.
Sun Protection for young children and families is essential during the summer. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater, that protects against UVA and UVB rays, to children older than 6 months. Parents should carefully apply sunscreen to their children, avoiding the eyes, lips, mouth, and hands, 30 minutes before going outdoors, even on cloudy days. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours or after swimming or sweating. The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.; if possible, parents should try to keep their children out of the sun during those hours. Lightweight and light colored cotton clothing is also advised, as well as hats and sunglasses with 100% UV protection for children of all ages. Babies younger than 6 months old should be kept in the shade and out of direct sunlight. Children should drink plenty of water when the weather is warm to avoid dehydration.
Summer is the perfect time to appreciate the beauty and joy of California’s waterways and recreation opportunities, and also a good time to remind parents that drowning and near-drowning incidents are preventable! In California, drowning is a leading cause of injury-related deaths among children under the age of five. Remember- there are NO WARNING SOUNDS or splashing sounds associated with a drowning accident, and drowning can occur in as little as one inch of water. Follow these tips for water safety:
- Never leave a child alone near water.
- Whenever infants or toddlers are in or around water, an adult – preferably one who knows how to swim and perform CPR – should be within arm’s length at all times, providing “touch supervision.”
- Make sure your child knows never to enter water unless permitted by an adult who is supervising.
- Children should wear life jackets (of appropriate size and as instructed) at all times when on boats, docks, or near bodies of water.
Visit the Department of Developmental Services‘ website for more information and take steps to prevent a devastating incident from happening.
During the summer, families with young children often visit and enjoy playgrounds at local parks. However, each year more than 200,000 children are treated for playground-related injuries. Parents and child care providers can prevent playground accidents by taking precautions before their children begin to play.
Parents should evaluate the conditions of the playground equipment and consider the following:
- Are there any sharp or rough edges on the equipment?
- Is the equipment hot to touch?
- Is the equipment is appropriate for your child’s age?
- Is the surface of the playground safe in the case the child falls? Concrete, asphalt, and blacktop surfaces are unsafe. The surface should be soft to cushion a child’s fall.
- Is the playground free of hazardous materials like broken glass?
Most importantly, young children should always have constant adult supervision. Play is an important part of children’s development and by being observant parents can help their children engage in safe, outdoor play.
Now that you have a few tips to be safe this summer, get out there and enjoy all the wonderful activities that San Diego has to offer!