With summer on the horizon, it means longer days and – I’d hope – lots of sunshine. As much as summer is a time of year we all look forward to, when you have children, it’s also a time of worry. There are so many things to consider as a parent, particularly when the temperature begins to creep up; it can be hard to switch off and relax. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be this way.
Let’s face it – a few bug bites and scrapes are inevitable, but it’s important to make sure we’re prepared for these kinds of things before they occur, to ensure we have fun-filled summer to remember – for all the right reasons.
Here are some ways to avoid any accidents this season:
Photo credit: Sunny studio / Shutterstock
Be safe in the sun
Skin is precious, and so we must look after it from an early age. I always make sure I wear factor 30 or above when I’m out in the sun and the boys always factor 50. We should aim to keep our little ones out of the sun as much as we can during the day, particularly during 11am and 3pm, according to the NHS – when the sun’s UV is at its strongest. In addition, parents with babies under the age of 6 months should keep them out of direct sunlight, especially around midday when the sun is harsh on skin.
The Karen Clifford skin charity, Skcin, and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution have five S’s for parents to remember this summer:
- Sunscreen – For the best protection, apply SPF 30+ waterproof sunscreen generously 30 minutes before going outdoors on all exposed parts of your child’s skin, such as: shoulders, nose, ears, cheeks and the tops of their feet. Reapply every two hours – even waterproof sunscreen loses its effectiveness after about 80 minutes of swimming.
- Shoulders – It is wise to dress your child in a T-shirt or UV protective suit to ensure their shoulders don’t get burnt.
- Shade – Encourage your child to play in the shade as much as possible, particularly in the hottest periods of the day.
- Sun hat – Put on a hat that shades the face, neck and ears.
- Sunglasses – Consider getting your child to wear glasses with UV protection to shield your eyes from the sun.
Photo credit: Sunny studio / Shutterstock
As the temperature begins to rise, there is a risk of getting dehydrated or heat stroke, both of which are extremely unpleasant for us adults – let alone children. It may come as a surprise just how much (and when) our children need to drink to prevent dehydration. It is recommended that children should drink 12 ounces of fluid 30 minutes before an activity begins, and take drink breaks regularly.
Possible symptoms of dehydration include fatigue, extreme thirst and muscle cramping. If your child doesn’t cool down and rehydrate, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke which is potentially fatal. Signs to watch out for include headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and lack of sweat. Sometimes you wont know about sunstroke until later in the day when the damage is already done.
Photo credit: FamVeld / Shutterstock
Master Children’s water safety
Swimming and other water activities are excellent ways to keep active, as you might know I have been sending Henry to swimming lessons over the past year to get him capable in the water. However, water can be incredibly dangerous, as drowning is among the leading causes of accidental death in children – even for the most confident of swimmers. As a result, it is important to be water-aware and always accompany our children when they are playing with water, much like you would in the bath.
If you have a freestanding inflatable or steel pool, or a hot tub, it can be incredibly difficult to maintain the chlorine levels and keep clean, especially when little people are in the pool frequently. To avoid bacteria from developing, it is well worth purchasing a floating hot tub chlorine dispenser which consistently releases small amounts of the chemical safely into the pool. This helps to keep the water at optimum cleanliness whenever in use and reduces the risk of our youngsters feeling unwell and having upset tummies.
I hope these tips help give you some extra ideas of how to keep children safe this summer. Are you off anywhere exciting for your summer adventures?