As we move quickly into full-blown summer season, it bears repeating that there are some good safety tips to remember. Recently, I spoke at Circle of Children preschool with a pediatrician where we discussed general safety tips. Here are some of the main points:
- When using sunscreen and DEET mosquito spray, always apply the sunscreen first, then wait a few minutes and apply the bug repellant.
- If children will be outdoors in the morning or later afternoon (not between the hours of 11-2) it is okay to give them some exposure without sunscreen in order for them to absorb some natural light and vitamin D. (this of course would not be applicable for very fair children who burn easily)
- Make sure to have cold bottled water by the pool when kids are swimming because they will still get dehydrated and need to drink regularly.
- while eating a large meal or anything dairy isn’t advised before swimming, small snacks are okay, such as some fruit, vegetables or crackers.
- It is not however advisable to allow kids to ‘snack while they swim’ as they can choke.
- Rash guards can help to cover children and protect them from burning, however when the shirts begin to wear out and get loose and drag, they are no longer offering any protection and can in fact become a hindrance to a swimming child. Shirts should always fit snuggly.
- Never let young children open the pool cover. Yes its fun for them but then it gives them the indication that its fine for them to do it and they may attempt to open it when no one is around. Always keep the cover to the switch or keypad locked and the key itself hidden out of sight and reach.
- If you are hosting a group playdate or gathering for children and will plan to swim or even be around the pool, it is better to have a lifeguard than not.
- If you are sending your child to someone’s house who has a pool, make sure you are very clear about what is and isn’t allowed for your child if you aren’t there. If you don’t know the other parent well and aren’t sure of their parenting style, you are better off being conservative and telling the host family that you’d prefer your child not swim when you are not present.
- Lastly, swimming is one of the best all-around summer activities for children (as we know already!) and they can literally spend HOURS in the pool playing, swimming and expending all that child energy which is so great. That said, keep an eye out for signs of fatigue in your child which can put them at risk for accidents and near-drowning incidents. If you are planning on being at a pool all day, take 20-30 minute breaks every couple of hours for a quick snack, some water and even a short rest before heading back in. This is also an ideal time to re-apply sunscreen.
Curious about which sunscreens are safest for your children? Click the link here to find out.