With the temperatures soaring at an alarming rate, the health and safety of kids is haunting every parent. In a few weeks or so, kids will start their summer vacation which will give them more reasons to play outdoors. While there is no way you can stop your child from playing outdoors, you can ensure that he/she stays safe and healthy when stepping out in the sun. With some simple precautions you can let your child have all the fun and yet keep him/her summer safe.
Here are 4 basic things to keep in mind to ensure summer safety for your child:
1 . Prevent Dehydration And Heat Exhaustion
Dehydration sets in when you have lost more water than you take in leading to a deficit. Kids participating in outdoor activities lose water due to vigorous exercise as well as sweating. Due to loss of salts, they can complain of muscle cramps which develop in legs, abdomen and arms. These are brief and painful but not serious. Heat exhaustion develops when there is immoderate loss of water and fluids. Heat strokes are the most severe form of heat illnesses and require immediate treatment as the body is unable to regulate temperature.
Watch Out For
-Low urine output, dry and sticky mouth, lethargy and fatigue are sings of dehydration.
-Signs of heat stroke and exhaustion include increased thirst, fatigue, weakness, nausea, vomiting, increase in body temperature and sometimes fainting, temperature above 104 degrees.
Things you must do
– Encourage your child to drink regularly throughout the day. Increase their fluid consumption and frequency especially when outdoors.
-Always make them carry water while stepping step out of the house. Put them into a habit of having water every 20- 30 mins.
-Avoid all outdoor games between 11 am to 4pm.
-If you suspect heat exhaustion, take the kid to a cool shady area, spray some cool water and give him fluids with a mixture of salt and sugar.
-Heat stroke is a medical emergency and needs prompt treatment
2 . Avoid Playground Injuries
Sports injuries are very common when your kids go out to play. Kids usually cannot judge the risks of the activities while they are involved in the game but you can do some quick checks to know they are safe.
Watch out for
-There must not be any standing water, holes, garbage dumps, big stones or rocks in the playground.
-There should not be a huge difference in the age groups of the kids playing together as the older ones may harm the younger ones intended/ unintended.
-No loose fitted clothes that may cause them to trip over.
Things You Must Do
Ensure proper sports equipment, safety gear and correct size, comfortable, light colored clothing for your kids. Always assure that they wear helmets when they go bicycle riding or skating. An adult supervisor who is trained in first aid and CPR can prove to be critical in unforeseen events.
3 . Ensure Swimming Pool Safety
Undoubtedly, the best form of outdoor activity in summer for kids and adults alike is swimming. But children need constant adult supervision even if the pool is shallow to prevent gulping in any water or avoid the risk of drowning.
Watch Out For
-The temperature of the pool water must be between 28- 30 degrees.
-The adult supervisor must not be more than an arm’s length to your kid.
-If the body temperature of the child drops i.e. you see them shivering or having muscle cramps, take them out immediately.
Things You Must do
-Make sure the kids are well hydrated before entering into the pool.
-Ensure proper fitted clothes for kids, apply sunscreen atleast 30 mins before going to the pool, use appropriate UV Sunglasses and cap.
-Inflatable arm bands and vests are not very effective and you must ask the coach about the correct flotation devices.
4 . Avoid Mosquito /Insect Bites
Parents must plan ways to prevent and manage mosquito/ insect bites as these may lead to serious illnesses / allergic reactions.
Watch Out For
-Your child’s playing area must not be in the vicinity of any standing water puddles, garbage dumps, ill maintained shrubs/ plants which are the perfect places for mosquitoes/ insects.
Things You Must Do
– Apply insect repellents (one’s with DEET concentration not more than 30% or those having essential oils like citronella).
-Re apply every 3-5 hrs. Prevent the kids from going out at the time of dusk when there are most chances of mosquitoes biting.
-In case of bee/ wasp stings, brush away the stinger with the back of a metal spoon/a key. Wash the area repeatedly with soap and water.
-Apply a cold ice pack. Give a painkiller/ oral antihistamine after speaking to your pediatrician.
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With just a few days left for the summer break, kids are already anticipating what all they will be doing to have a fun- filled and thrilling vacation! Join into their excitement and have an exceptional time this summer but keep them summer- safe!