Summer Safety Tips for Parents

For parents, summer isn't just about fun and games. Most hospitals recognize it as the number one trauma and injury season for children. Nationally-recognized child safety expert Alison Rhodes has tips and advice on how to keep children safe while they're having fun in the sun. Whether it's protecting against sunburn, treating bug bites, preventing bike injuries, keeping hydrated, staying germ-free during outdoor activities and barbecues, she has information to make sure you and your family get through the dog days of summer without a trip to the E.R.

Alison Rhodes, "The Safety Mom," is a nationally-recognized expert in child safety dedicated to educating parents on ways to keep their kids safe. After experiencing the death of her child from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Rhodes became committed to saving children's lives and is the national voice for child health and safety. She has been featured on numerous television segments discussing child safety, health and wellness and the benefits of "going green" including NBC's The Today Show, ABC World News Tonight, Court TV, Oxygen's The Gayle King Show, PBS' Keeping Kids Healthy, Discovery Health's Runway Moms, CNN and CNBC.

Pool Safety

About 250 children under age five drown each year in pools, while another 200 or 300 wind up in hospitals because of pool immersion -- according to CPSC
  • Never leave children alone in or near the pool - an adult should be within arm's length, providing "touch supervision"
  • Keep rescue equipment near the pool

Sun Safety For Babies

  • According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) babies should really be covered up, but parents can apply a little sunscreen with at least 15 SPF

Sun Safety for Children

  • The FDA recommends applying at least SPF 15 sunscreen with UVA/UVB protection 30 minutes before going outside -- then reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating
  • However, covering up is best. Wear a hat with a three-inch brim or a bill facing forward, sunglasses that block UV rays and clothing with sun protection
  • Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours - between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Bug Safety

  • Avoid dressing your child in clothing with bright colors or flowery prints.
  • Don't use scented soaps, perfumes or hair sprays on your child
  • Insect repellents containing DEET are most effective against ticks, which can transmit Lyme Disease, and mosquitoes, which can transmit West Nile Virus and other viruses
  • DEET should not be used on children less than 2 months old

Bike, Skating, Skateboard and Scooter Safety

More than 200 children are killed annually in bicycle-related incidents, and about 60 percent of these deaths involve a head injury -- CSPC
  • Research indicates that a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by up to 85 percent
  • Whatever you ride, wear a CPSC approved helmet and other protective gear
  • Skaters, skateboarders and scooter-riders should also wear wrist guards - AAP
  • Buy a bike that is the right size - oversized bikes are especially dangerous.
  • Don't push your child to ride 2-wheeled bike until he's ready, at about age 5 or 6

Coping with the Heat

  • Reduce intensity of activities when heat and humidity reach critical levels
  • Children should be hydrated before they go outside, and then during any activity: Each 20 minutes, 5 oz of cold tap water or a flavored sports drink for a child weighing 90 lbs, and 9 oz for an adolescent weighing 130 lbs, even if the child does not feel thirsty - according to AAP
  • Clothing should be light-colored and lightweight and limited to one layer of absorbent material to facilitate evaporation of sweat
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