Monday, June 4, 2012

Summer Safety Tips

If you are a fan of Motherhood and Money on Facebook, you may know that I am an admin on a page called Mommy's Place.  Mommy's Place is a page that focuses on mom' advice, answering questions, and giving you a place to vent.  Recently, we started a blog for this page.  One of our first posts was about summer safety.  With summer finally here, I wanted to share the safety tips we posted on our blog. 
Drowning:  Although great fun for the kids, water can be dangerous. Nearly 1000 kids die each year by drowning, which makes it the second leading cause of accidental death for ages 5-24.  Kids need constant supervision when around all types of water, even a wading pool. Young children can drown in as little as 2 inches of water!  It is best to start your kids in a swimming lesson with qualified instructors.  Never assume even a kid who has had swim lessons isn't at risk of drowning. It is best to keep weak swimmers and young swimmers within arms distance. 

Make sure you are using a coast guard approved floatation devices. There are lots of different styles to choose from.  Make sure you choose the best one for your child.  If you are going to be riding in a boat, make sure you get one that is approved for boat riding. Unfortunately, the stylish swimsuits with the built in floatation device is not approved for riding in a boat. Also, the wing floaties are not effective against drowning, they are just there for a little extra help. 
Pool Rules:  It is important to make sure your kids have and follow pool rules.  Public pools may have a set of rules already in place, make sure your kids read and understand them.  If you have your own pool, make up a set of rules and consequences for not following the rules.  Remind them why you have rules and what could happen if something did happen.  Supervision is needed at all times, even if your kids have taken swim lessons and are wearing life vests.  There should be appropriate safety equipment at all pools.  Even when it is not swim season, pools can pose a threat.  Make sure your kids know that pools with covers can be extremely dangerous.  Make sure your kids know that covered pools cannot be walked on.  If someone walks on a covered pool or accidentally fall into a covered pool, they can drown fast from being trapped in the pool. 
Lake, Ponds, and Beaches:  Lakes, ponds, and beaches can be very dangerous for children.  They need to be supervised at all times. Sometimes you cannot tell when it gets deeper and it can drop really fast without you knowing.  It is very smart to make sure your kids wear foot protection since you do not know what is in the water. Never let children get too far out due to boats and being far away from help.  If you at the beach, teach your children about being aware of sea animals.  At the beach, or in a strong current, teach your kids to swim parallel to the shore or to just tread water until you can get someone's attention for help.  

Water Safety:  When you are swimming outside, beware of bad weather and teach your child to get out of the water when they see lightning and to let adults know.  Water illnesses can be extremely bad.  Make sure to take lots of bathroom breaks and drink lots of water so they don't get dehydrated.  Make sure to have a swim diaper on your child, if you have a child who is not potty trained.  Leaky diapers can spread bad germs throughout the pool and as we all know it is hard to keep our mouth close 100% of the time in the water.  Other swimmers can get severe diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and dehydration from swallowed water. 
Skin Protection:  Swimming can be fun for the whole family and is great exercise. Sometimes we get caught up in having so much fun and forget to put on one of the most important things, SUN SCREEN.  Sun exposure is a great source of vitamin D but it doesn't take much time in the sun for most people to get too much sun.  The sun's UV rays can cause skin damage, eye damage, or even skin cancer. 
A sunburn means your skin's melanin is less than the amount of UV exposure that it can protect against. Unprotected sun exposure is even more dangerous to kids with moles, very fair skin, or a family history of skin cancer (ex. melanoma).  One of the biggest mistakes is parents think since there is an overcast that their child doesn't need sunscreen.  UV rays can travel through clouds and reflect off of sand, water, concrete, etc.  Sunscreen should be at least SPF 30 and applied every few hours, even with high number SPF sunscreens.  Make sure your sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays, and never buy sunscreen that contains PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid), chemical-free block is best.  Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before sun exposure and make sure all areas are protected. Never assume that darker skin color means the child can not be affected by the sun's harmful rays.  It is not advised to put sunscreen on kids under 6months of age.  Appropriate clothing such as sunglasses, hats with wide brims, or even a long sleeve swimsuits are best.  Umbrellas or any type of shade is a must when out in the sun, all kids need a place to get away from the sun.  If your child does develop a sun burn, apply aloe on all areas and give them an anti-inflammatory (ex. ibuprofen).  If your child gets a severe sunburn and blisters develop, do not pop the blisters and call the doctor.  Keep your child in the shade until the sunburn is gone.

I hope everyone has a SAFE and HAPPY summer!


John Petter said...

Really a nice post.

Anonymous said...

An excellent article. Also don't forget to protect yourself from staph infections. Check out this article...

Mrs. T said...

Thank you for sharing that link *Anonymous*! ;)