Temperatures are rising and kids are spending more and more time outside as summertime weather takes hold. Warm weather might mean a lot more fun at the playground or on the swing in the backyard, but being safe outside in the summer is about more than just regularly applying sunscreen. Parents need to take the time to understand and manage those risks for their little ones. Here’s what parents and guardians should watch out for as you and your kids enjoy your time out in the sun.
Recognize Heat Exhaustion
We all love warm weather, bright sunshine, and running around outside, but that can quickly turn ugly if parents and guardians aren’t vigilant. Ask your kids to tell you if they’re uncomfortably hot, nauseous, or dizzy, and take notice if they seem lethargic and appear either pale or flushed. These are symptoms of heat exhaustion, which can be very dangerous if ignored.
Heat exhaustion is frequently accompanied by dehydration, which also makes kids more vulnerable to heat exhaustion in the first place. When your body doesn’t have enough water at its disposal, it can’t shed heat as effectively by sweating. Because of this, it’s important to always bring plenty of water, and to keep kids drinking lots of liquids throughout the day. If you suspect a child has heat exhaustion, get them out of the sun and into a cool environment immediately. If they don’t feel better quickly, they may need medical attention.
A mosquito bite can mean a lot more than just an itchy lump. Summer is when the threat of insect bites and insect-borne illnesses is greatest. Common vectors for disease include ticks, fleas, and, of course, mosquitos. Some of these types of pathogens, like lyme disease or zika, can have serious lifelong health effects. Because of this, parents need to do everything they can to prevent infection in the first place.
Find out which types of biting insects and which kinds of illnesses are common or going around in your area, and take appropriate precautionary measures. That means making sure your kids are up to date on their vaccinations, and using appropriate repellents regularly.
Learn About Water Safety
Water play is a great way to beat the heat, whether that’s swimming, going to the beach, boating, splashing in a pool, or setting up a water slide in the backyard. Any time water is involved, however, parents need to take precautions. Very young kids can drown in as little as 2 inches of water, meaning that parents absolutely need to be paying attention at all times.
There’s a lot to know about water safety, and parents should take the time to read up on what precautions to take in different watery environments. Specific dangers include slipping and falling, entanglement in the water, unseen debris or sharp objects under water, currents and tides, and aquatic animals.