Child Safety Tips For Summer
Special Concerns: When choosing a flotation device, go for a child-size life vest. Little arms are less likely to slip out than they are with water wings. And when compared with using a swim ring, there's less chance of tipping over. Also, take a CPR course (find your local American Red Cross chapter at redcross.org) so you'll be prepared in case of a near-drowning incident.
Knowing the warning signs is also key to staving off serious trouble, she says. "The first sign is cramping in the legs, and if that occurs, cool off and drink fluid until it goes away because if you don't, it can progress to heat exhaustion and then heat stroke," Leahy cautions. "Cramping -- especially a cramp in the leg -- is a sign that the body is losing salt and electrolytes, and you really ought to heed it," Leahy tells WebMD. "Cramping and light sweating gives way to more profuse, heavier sweating, feeling lightheaded and maybe a little nauseous, and then you hit heat stroke, your body stops sweating, and can no longer cool itself," she says.
In addition to lawnmowers, be sure to never allow your young child to ride an ATV (all-terrain vehicle). ATVs were responsible for 74 deaths and 37,000 injuries in the U.S. in 2008. The AAP recommends that no child under 16 ride on an ATV.
If you have a backyard playground or play equipment, make sure the ground beneath the equipment is soft enough. Surfaces made of concrete, asphalt or dirt are too hard and do not absorb enough impact in the event of a fall. Instead, the CPSC recommends using at least 9 inches of mulch or wood chips.
How to Treat: If your child's skin comes in contact with one of these plants, you have a window of about 10 minutes to wash away the rash-causing oil. If you don't catch it in time, a rash may develop within 12 hours. Use topical hydrocortisone cream and an oral antihistamine to calm the itch.
"When getting the tick out, it's important to get as much out as possible," he says, "Bring tweezers with you if you are going to be in a tick-infested area to ensure that you get as much as possible," he says.
If you're outside at a picnic and can't wash your hands (or your kids' hands), use an antibacterial hand gel. Clean all raw fruits and vegetables, and keep raw meats separate from cooked foods. Wash food-preparation surfaces and utensils well, and cook all food thoroughly. If you're marinating food, make sure it's in the refrigerator or a cooler.
When choosing bug repellents this summer, know that the most effective products contain DEET because it's proven to repel both mosquitoes and ticks. Products with a DEET concentration of less than 30 percent are safe for kids, but not for babies under 2 months old. Apply the repellent once a day and don't use combination sunscreen/bug repellent products. All-natural repellents, such as lemon eucalyptus and citronella, aren't proven to protect against ticks, nor should they be used in children younger than 3 years. It's safe to apply them on older kids.