5 Tips To Keep Your Kids Safe This Summer
Summertime is an exciting time for everyone, especially kids. Barbecues, water balloon fights, and endless hours of playtime is what kids live for. Summer is for making memories that will last a lifetime, but if you don't take caution, some summer events come with some not so fun problems. But there are ways to fix these problems if you follow these 5 simple steps to help keep your kiddo's safe and healthy this summer.
Yes, I know, it can be a hassle to put on sunscreen. Especially if you have a wiggly kid to put it on. You go outside hell bent that you will apply sunscreen to your kids every 2 hours, but end up only applying it once and hope it lasts. Though a lot of people do this, it is extremely dangerous for your kiddos to not have a proper layer of sunscreen on. No sunscreen, regardless of strength, should be expected to stay effective longer than two hours without reapplication. Sunscreen protects your skin from the suns ultraviolet (UV) radiation which damages your skin, ages you prematurely, and can increase your risk of skin cancer, and that is no joke.
Sunscreens vary in their ability to protect against UV radiation. This is where SPF (Sun protectant factor) comes in handy. Most sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher do a great job of protecting your skin. The higher the SPF, the more protection you have. You might be thinking, "My kid has darker skin, they don't need sunscreen." This is false. Even though your kids may have a darker skin tone, they are still susceptible to UV radiation. "Reddening" or "Sun burning" of the skin is a reaction to the suns rays, but only tells you little about the damage that is happening to your kids skin. A lot of damage can be done even if they don't have a noticeable sun burn. I personally don't take any chances and get the highest SPF for my children.
Use Insect Repellant
With summer comes bugs. Creepy bugs, crawly bugs, and flying bugs. Some bugs are harmless, but others, not so much. Mosquitos can transfer a host of diseases including malaria and yellow fever. The diseases we have heard most about lately that are caused by mosquitos are the West Nile Virus and the Zika Virus.
West Nile virus is a disease transmitted to people, horses, and birds. Most people infected with West Nile virus can show flu-like symptoms, but some (primarily elderly) have a more severe illness. Though this virus doesn't sound like too much of a problem for your children, it is not something that you want them to contract.
The Zika Virus is a little bit scarier. It can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus and can cause serious birth defects in the unborn child. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die from the disease. This leads to many people not realizing they have been infected.
You can protect your children from mosquitos, and the diseases they carry, with insect repellant. Some clothing can also help keep mosquitos out, but thin layers can still be penetrated by the annoying insect. Insect repellant with "deet" is very effective and can be used on kids as young as two months without causing harm to your child .
Don't Leave Your Child In The Car
Every summer there are so many heart -wrenching stories about babies and toddlers being left in a hot car while their parent goes inside. Some parents do it accidentally, forgetting that their little one is still in the backseat. Others do it thinking they will only be a few minutes and that the child would be alright. What they don't realize is how fast the inside of a car can heat up on a hot day. Many children have died from being left inside a car by their parent or caregiver. Here is a list of helpful tips to help make sure this doesn't happen to your kid.
1. Never, Ever, leave your child in the car thinking you will only be gone for a second. You could go into a store only wanting to get one thing, and then realize you have just spent 10 minutes waiting in line to buy it. You never know how busy stores are going to be and a car can heat up extremely fast.
2. Never leave your child in the car with the windows cracked thinking it won't get hot. It only takes 15 minutes for the inside of a car to reach 109 degrees even if the windows are cracked on a hot day.
2. Put your purse in the backseat. This way when you get out of your car, you have to go to the back seat to get your purse and you will see your little one.
3. Put one of your kids stuffed animals in the front seat. This way whenever you get out of your car you see the toy in the passenger seat, which reminds you to get your child.
4. Talk to your child during the ride. You can't forget about them if they're talking to you.
5. Get the Precious Cargo App. This app detects when you enter your car. The app turns on when you sit in the front seat. The Bluetooth is then activated and asks if you are travelling with "precious cargo". If you are, you enter the child's name. When you get to your destination and turn the engine off the app will alert you to remind you that your kid is in the backseat.
Know Where Your Kid Is
You've probably heard the stories. The mom who's toddler wandered off and fell in the gorilla pit at the zoo. The 2 year old who was viciously attacked by an alligator at Disney World. The children who wandered away from the park while their parents weren't watching. It is every parents worst nightmare. If you are a parent of a younger child you could probably use some help on keeping up with the little romper.
The following is a list of tactics to use in the event that your child might wander off. Some are semi- effective, others are very effective.
- A Child Leash-
While this is an effective way to keep your child close, some people are offended by the idea of a child on a leash. It can, however, keep your child from wandering off in a big croud.
- The Arm Link-
This is usually used by parents who have multiple children. You have all your kids link arms so that they won't be separated from each other. This only works if all of your kids keep their arms linked. As you can imagine, some kids who are younger forget and could end up wandering off.
- Arm Address-
This comes in handy if your child wandered off and you can't find them. You write your address and phone number on the child's arm in permanent marker. You then cover the writing with liquid band aid to keep the writing from washing off. If your child gets lost, people will have a way to contact you to bring your kiddo back home safely.
-"My Kid Pod" Or "Kid Band"-
These are by far my favorite. A team of Utah college students designed a technology based way to keep an eye on your kids. Your kid is given a bracelet that has a Bluetooth tracker inside that connects with your Smartphone. Parents can decide how far their child can roam before an alarm goes off on the phone and the bracelet. I think this idea is absolutely genius and will prevent a lot of children from wandering off in the future. It is also fairly cheap to buy.
Be Aware Of Drowning
Swimming pools are by far the scariest thing for me as a mother. I hear stories every summer of little kids drowning in their neighborhood pools. This is why I like to know my water safety tips. Here are the steps I follow to keep my children safe around water.
1. Put a locked fence around your pool. This keeps your kids and other neighborhood kids from walking in and swimming without adult supervision.
2.Teach your children how to swim. This way if your child accidentally falls in, they can swim to safety.
3. Remove toys. Toys in the pool can draw small children into jumping into the water.
4. Beware of Drains. Pool drains can suck small body parts and hair into itself and cause your kid to drown.
5. Don't expect others to watch them. At a pool party with a bunch of other people you almost expect everyone to keep an eye on your child. You think it's a "group effort", but honestly everyone wants to talk to the other parents there, including you. Remember that your child is counting on you to keep them safe. Don't get distracted by the adult conversations going on around you. Watch your kid like a hawk.
5. Know CPR and First Aid. This is the best thing to do for your child. You can save your child's life in the event that they drown or get some other injury.
6. Know the signs of Secondary Drowning and Dry Drowning. I didn't know that these even existed until two years ago. "Dry" and "secondary" drowning can happen hours after your kid leaves the pool. This happens when your child breathes water into their lungs, which can happen when their struggling while swimming or as simple as getting water in their mouth when they are dunked.
Dry Drowning: With dry drowning, water never reaches the lungs. Instead, breathing in water causes your child's vocal chords to spasm and close up after they have already left the pool. That shuts off their airways, making it hard to breathe.
Secondary Drowning: This happens a little bit differently. Your child's airways open up, letting water into his lungs where it builds up, causing a condition called pulmonary edema, which causes trouble with breathing.
Make sure to watch your kids closely for a couple hours after leaving the pool. This way you will notice the signs of Dry or Secondary drowning and can take your kid to the hospital, which can save their life.
Even though I've stressed the fact to be safe this summer, remember to have fun. Summertime is the best time for children to learn and grow. As long as they have loving parents like you, they will be safe and get to make wonderful memories that you and they will cherish forever.