News and Notes

  • Skin Protection

    Damage from the sun is cumulative and leads to skin cancer. Skin cancer can occur in all color types including skin that tans. A tanned skin is damaged and not healthy.

    Damaging ultraviolet rays are present on sunny days as well as hazy or cloudy days. Ultraviolet rays are present at the beach as well as in the back yard. Due to the thinning ozone layer, UV rays are more concentrated now than ever before. It is essential that protective clothing be worn. UV protective clothing is available in both children and adult styles. Hats help. UV protective umbrellas or sun shelters are essential at the beach and pool. Sunscreen must be worn for all outdoor activities. Use sunscreens with an SPF of at least 40 and make sure to reapply as directed and especially after being in water. Sunscreens may be applied to children of any age but we strongly urge to keep children less than 2 years of age out of the sun completely, especially when the sun rays are at their strongest between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. 

  • Summer Hazards

    Summer is a time everyone anticipates. Summer means outdoor activities, cleaning, yard work, bike riding and swimming. Every parent should think about safety first before any activity. Every summer thousands of children are poisoned, suffer head trauma or drown because simple safety measures are ignored.

    FLUIDS
    All motor fluids, radiator fluids and cleaning agents, and gardening chemicals (including fertilizers) need to be kept up high and locked. Once used, leftovers or changed fluids should be discarded safely. Never leave children or pets around oils, antifreeze or fertilizers without close supervision (or eyes in the back of a parent’s head). 

    VEHICLES
    Never, never, never back a vehicle out of the garage or out of the driveway without removing all toys from behind and make sure children are in the house or can be easily seen by the driver. Children and pets have a knack of running behind a car when least expected.

    LAWN EQUIPMENT
    Do not let children under thirteen ride on or operate lawn tractors, lawn mowers, hedge trimmers, edge trimmers and chain saws. They do not have the coordination, strength, common sense and fear to avoid serious injury. Even after they are old enough to use garden power tools, close supervision is mandatory. 

    RIDING TOYS
    Every year thousands of children suffer concussions, brain damage and even death due to falls from bicycles, scooters, skateboards and roller blades. Be a caring parent and do not let your child ride without a helmet. Remember that the final decision is a parent’s responsibility and not the child’s. Children may feel it is nerdy to wear a helmet but the alternative of being unable to hear, unable to use arms or legs or unable to control bowels due to brain damage is life altering. 

    WATER 
    Swimming and playing in water are some of summer’s pleasures. Do not let them turn tragic.
    All swimming pools must be fenced, water access to lakes and the ocean must be gated off to young children and hot tubs must be kept locked when not in use. It only takes 3 inches of water for an infant or toddler to drown so all kiddy pools should be emptied and turned upside down when not in use.


    Enroll children in swimming classes as early as possible. A 2 year old is coordinated enough to learn basic swim strokes and swimming lessons are inexpensive at your local YMCA. 

    Finally, make a rule that no one is allowed to swim alone and that every child under 13 years of age has an adult spotter who watches them continuously while they are in the water. Many children have drowned in pools, lakes and the ocean even though adults were in the water or in close proximity. The adults were not completely attentive and thought the child was playing or swimming under the water and did not realize the child was in distress until it was too late.

  • Heat Stress and Staying Hydrated

    The intensity of activities that last 15 minutes or more should be reduced whenever high heat or humidity reach critical levels.

    At the beginning of a strenuous exercise program or after traveling to a warmer climate, the intensity and duration of outdoor activities should start low and then gradually increase over 7 to 14 days to acclimatize to the heat, particularly if it is very humid.

    Before outdoor physical activities, children should drink freely and should not feel thirsty.  During activities less than one hour, water alone is fine.  Kids should always have water or a sport drink available and take a break to drink every 20 minutes while active in the heat.

    Clothing should be light-colored and lightweight and limited to one layer of absorbent material to facilitate evaporation of sweat.  Sweat-saturated shirts should be replaced by dry clothing.

    Practices and games played in the heat should be shortened and there should be more frequent water/hydration breaks.  Children should promptly move to cooler environments if they feel dizzy, lightheaded or nauseous.

    Adapted from aap.org

  • Fireworks Safety

    Fireworks can result in severe burns, scars and disfigurement that can last a lifetime.  Fireworks that are often thought to be safe, such as sparklers, can reach temperatures above 1000 degrees Fahrenheit and can burn users and bystanders.  Families should attend community fireworks displays run by professionals rather than using fireworks at home.

    Adapted from HealthyChildren.org

  • Bug Safety: Tick Bites and Lyme’s Disease

    Here are a few tips to protect yourselves and your children from bug bites during the summer months.

    • Do not use scented soaps, perfumes or hair spray on your child.
    • Avoid areas where insects nest or congregate, such as stagnant pools of water, uncovered foods and gardens where flowers are in bloom.
    • Avoid dressing your child in clothing with bright colors or flowery prints.
    • To remove a visible stinger from skin, gently back it out by scraping it with a credit card or your fingernail.
    • Combination sunscreen/insect repellent products should be avoided because sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours but the insect repellent should not be reapplied.
    • Use insect repellents containing DEET when needed to prevent insect-related diseases.  Ticks can transmit Lyme Disease and mosquitoes can transmit West Nile Virus and other viruses.
    • The current AAP and CDC recommendation for children older than 2 months of age is to use 10% to 30% DEET.  DEET should not be used on children younger than 2 months of age.
    • The effectiveness is similar for 10% to 30% DEET but the duration of effect varies.

    Adapted from HealthyChildren.org