Summer safety tips for parents and children
Summer fun is here and it is time for
children to spend more time outdoors.
Children need to play outside
more than ever. It takes little effort to
make sure they have a fun and safe summer.
Enjoy the warmer weather and keep you and
your family safe this summer by following
these tips of advice from the American Academy
• If you smell like a flower then
you will attract some insects, so
avoid the use of scented soaps and
• Eliminate stagnant water
around the home. These will act as
hatcheries for mosquitoes.
• Bright colors and flowery
presents often attract bees.
• Use insect repellent containing
DEET, or diethyltoluamide,
when needed to prevent mosquito bites
and ticks. DEET is safe to use on children.
The current Center for Disease Control and
American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation
for children older than two months
of age is to use 10 to 30 percent DEET. It
should not be used in children younger than
two months of age. Repellent with 10 percent
DEET provides protection for about
two hours and 30 percent protects for about
Bicycle and scooter safety
• A helmet can protect your child from
serious injury and should always be worn.
When purchasing a helmet look for the label
or sticker that says the helmet meets the
Consumer Product Safety Commission safety
standard. The helmet should be snug on the
head but not too tight.
• Wear sturdy shoes (no flip-flops or bare
• Protective wrist, elbow and knee pads
may be worn when riding a scooter, a skateboard
or if your child is skating.
All-terrain vehicle safety
• Children who are too young to have a
driver’s license should not be allowed to drive
or ride on any off road vehicles. Children are
involved in about 30 percent of all ATV related
deaths and injuries requiring a visit to the
• Don’t ride double because passengers are
frequently injured when riding on
ATVs. Passengers can also make
ATVs unstable and difficult to
• The operator should always
wear a helmet. Eye protection and
sturdy shoes should also be worn.
• ATV tires tend to grip the
pavement which can lead to a rollover
so operators should not ride
on paved roads. Parents should
never permit nighttime riding or street use of
off road vehicles.
Poison ivy and poison
• Skin reactions to some plants can cause a
very itchy and unsightly rash that can make a
• Roughly half the children who come in
contact with either poison ivy or poison oak
will have an allergic reaction. The rash usually
appears one to four days after the child is
exposed to the oils from the plant. The rash
blisters and eventually becomes crusted over
in a week or two.
• The skin reactions are not contagious and
the fluid oozing from the blisters will not give
another person poison ivy. Patches of skin exposed
to smaller concentrations of the oil can
pop up for about a week after exposure.
• Rubbing the rash with an ice cube is
sometimes helpful. Over-the-counter hydrocortisone
cream is also helpful in decreasing
the level of inflammation. The child should
be seen for any signs of secondary bacterial
infection of the skin, for fever or if they are
• Prevention includes learning to recognize
the plant (“leaves of three, leave them be”),
and washing with soap and water the exposed
skin if contact is suspected. The oil from the
plant can also rub off on the fur of a family
pet and then be transferred to children. Consider
regular baths for the dog if they play in
an area known to have poison ivy.
• Swimming alone at any age is never recommended.
• Never leave a child alone near water even
for a moment. An adult who knows how to
swim should closely supervise children who
• Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as
“floaties.” They are no substitute for approved
life vests and can give a false sense of security.
• Avoid exposing children to extreme heat
and make sure they are hydrated when they
play in warm weather. Plan some rest periods
in the shade when children play in the summer
• Overheating can produce significant
health effects in children including dehydration,
heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat
• Signs of heat exhaustion include nausea,
vomiting, hyperventilation with numbness
and tingling of the lips and the fingers.
• Children left in unattended vehicles when
the outside temperature is 80 degrees can be
exposed to potentially fatal temperatures
greater than 110 degrees in only 20 minutes.
Rob Revelette is a pediatrician with the Pediatric
Associates, Saint Joseph Hospital in Jessamine
Summer safety tips for parents and children