Services & Specialties May 24, 2021

Hot Tips for Summer Safety

Angela Moore, DO, is an Adena Pediatric Specialist based out of Circleville, and part of the Adena Pediatrics network with additional locations in Chillicothe and Waverly. She considers herself a “small town girl at heart,” having grown up in a one-stoplight town in Pennsylvania. She wanted to be a pediatrician since she was a little girl. She has a special interest in special needs children because her little brother is non-verbal and autistic. Her background and dedication to families reinforces her commitment to local children and helping them stay healthy and safe.

Summer is a time for fun in the sun, long careless days and a less chaotic schedule thanks to a break from school for the kids. But that doesn’t mean your concern about your children’s health and safety can go on vacation. Keep the following tips in mind while enjoying the coming months.

Don’t Get Overdone in the Sun

Kids are always on the go, especially in the summer when they are often outdoors playing and at the pool. It’s not always easy to re-apply fresh sunscreen, but it’s important, even on cloudy days. Just a few serious sunburns could increase your child's risk of skin cancer later in life.

When it comes to babies and sun, “generally we tell people with babies under six months to keep their babies out of direct sunlight,” says Dr. Moore. They should find shade for their babies outdoors either using a tree, stroller canopy, or umbrella. “We recommend the babies always wear a hat with a brim and when possible, keep the baby in cool comfortable clothing, like a long sleeve swim shirt, to protect their sensitive skin.” Dr. Moore says when adequate shade or clothing are not available, you should use sunscreen on your baby. Apply sunscreen in small amounts with an SPF of no less than 30 every two hours.

Adults and older children should try to limit long periods in direct sunlight during peak sun intensity between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are the strongest. They should use regular breaks in shady areas to cool off, check skin for burning and re-apply sunscreen (every two hours). If children get sunburnt that results in blistering, pain, or a fever, parents should contact us and bring their child in for further checking. “We also recommend sunglasses for everyone, even little ones.”

Out and About

It is great for kids to be outdoors in the summer, getting fresh air and exercise. The last things on their mind, and sometimes on our minds as parents, are some of the simpler precautions to ensure children’s outdoor adventures are safe and healthy. A key precaution for children is to make sure they stay hydrated. Dehydration in children can lead to dry mouth, dry skin, less urinating, headaches, muscle cramps, dizziness, fatigue, rapid heartbeat and possibly even unconsciousness if dehydration becomes too extreme. This type of dehydration over time can take a toll on a person’s body. “We recommend children drink plenty of water in the summer and when outdoors in the heat,” says Dr. Moore. “They should avoid sugary drinks like sodas and juices as a sole source of hydration – one, they contain too much sugar for continued consumption, and two, they don’t fulfill hydration as effectively as water.” If it’s hard to get your children to drink water, Dr. Moore suggests using fun drinking cups/water bottles or fruit infused water to make it more appealing for kids.

When riding bikes, all kids should wear a proper fitting helmet. “Helmets should be UPSC (US Consumer Product Safety Commission) certified, and fit the rider with appropriate snugness, fully covering the head and forehead.” If a helmet is involved in a hard fall, just once, it should be replaced. Babies, when riding with parents in a bike trailer or seat, should always wear appropriate fitting helmets.” As children get older, knee pads and elbow pads provide extra precaution against painful scrapes and cuts.

When outdoors, there’s always a chance of getting stung or bitten by an insect. Parents should read the labels of all bug repellents before applying them to your child, especially for infants. Many repellents are not safe for babies under two months of age. Read the label or purchase a repellent designed especially for children. Should your child get bitten or stung, remove the stinger from the skin and apply a cold, damp washcloth or ice pack for 20 minutes. After that, you can apply a paste of baking soda and water to reduce itchiness and help the irritation heal, or apply an antibiotic ointment. You may also give your child age-appropriate acetaminophen (Tylenol) to help with pain. If your child should show signs of allergic reaction like swelling, rash, or difficulty breathing call 9-1-1 immediately.

Rules for Pools

We all love a cool dip in the pool on hot summer days, but with children, we need to be extra cautious. Drowning is the number one cause of death for children ages 1-4 (after birth defects). “Pools and water have a powerful draw for children, even when it’s not time to swim,” says Dr. Moore. “Children, especially young children, should always be supervised and should never be near water without an adult beside them.” For residential pools, make sure general safety standards are in place with proper fencing and gates to keep children from unsupervised access. Pool alarms are a great idea if you own a pool and have little ones. With a crowd, it is easy to get distracted. If there are many people around the pool, it’s often a great idea to assign “water watchers” to just make sure children are accounted for and that no child enters the water unnoticed. Children can drown in less than two inches of water, so it is essential to always be vigilant and clear-minded when your children are anywhere near water.

At the beach, older children also need constant supervision. Things like the tides, rip currents and objects like sharp rocks under the water can all be serious dangers for children.

Catch Up on Wellness

“The Summer is an excellent time for families to schedule pediatric well-checks and get caught up on their annual exams and immunizations,” says Dr. Moore. “We know that many families may have postponed their children’s well-check visits during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Adena takes every precaution to keep patients safe during their visits. If you have older school children, it is also an excellent time to get their sports physicals and beat the fall rush.

Number One: Have Fun!

Although there’s a lot to think about, summer is meant to be fun. Taking precautions and staying alert just helps ensure your kids can enjoy the outdoors safely. If your child does happen to get hurt, large cuts, scrapes, breaks, etc., Adena Pediatrics is here for you. In addition to daily scheduled visits, we have convenient after hours visits Monday through Friday from 5-7 p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon for same day add-on appointments. These appointments are particularly useful for those unexpected pediatric injuries or concerns. Call 740-779-4300 to schedule an Adena Pediatric visit. Of course, if there is an emergency, parents or caregivers should call 9-1-1 or go directly to an Adena Emergency Department.