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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

of Pediatrics.


• 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

five hours.

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

emergency room.

• 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

oak safety

• Skin reactions to some plants can cause a

very itchy and unsightly rash that can make a

child miserable.

• 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

especially uncomfortable.

• 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.

Water safety

• 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

are swimming.

• Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as

“floaties.” They are no substitute for approved

life vests and can give a false sense of security.

Heat illness

• 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

by ROB