Celebrating Summer Safely with Families
Fun in the summertime involves parades, fireworks, BBQs, pool parties, and great family time! It also brings some safety hazards for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. Here are some tips to keep your family safe this summer.
- Liberally apply SPF 30+ sunscreen early on children and babies over 6 months. Reapply every few hours and after swimming, running through the sprinklers, or any other water activity. For babies under 6 months, check with your pediatrician about their sunscreen recommendations and keep them out of the sun with a loose cover and a hat. Sun shirts and UPF-rated umbrellas are also helpful for infants.
- Apply bug spray if you’ll be anywhere with mosquitos. Picardin is widely available, and is a proven to perform better than DEET for mosquitos everywhere except the tropics. Picardin is safe for infants over 2 months.
- If you are going to a party, parade or a crowded place, decide up front who will be responsible for watching each child. Consider dividing and conquering. Never assume family or friends are watching your children and be clear when passing on the responsibility to another person.
- ROADid makes ID bracelets for children to wear when there are crowds and a chance of getting lost, like amusement parks and carnivals. Medical information can be included, as well as contact information.
- With children over 2, talk about expectations, rules and clear consequences including staying in a designated area, asking before eating and drinking anything, and playing safe. Have them repeat the rules back to you.
- Be extra mindful of open cups, grills, fire pits, pools, ponds, and other safety hazards. If you are hosting a BBQ, consider putting a play yard around danger zones. One of the most common injuries to toddlers at the beach are burns from digging into the sand where someone buried their leftover coals from their bonfire the night before.
- If you are celebrating near water, put life vests on all your little ones, even if they aren’t swimming.
- Make sure your family is staying hydrated, and pack a few extra snacks, too. No one is happy when they are hungry. Extra tip: sugar-free popsicles are a great way to stay cool and hydrated.
- Try to stick with nap routines to avoid tired meltdowns and to make it to the late firework shows.
- If your family is celebrating near loud music or noise, use noise-canceling headphones for little ears. Don’t use earplugs – they can be a choking hazard.
- Consider dressing your family in bright or matching colors so you can find them in a crowd easily.
- If you’ll be celebrating at a crowded event where toddlers or preschoolers could get lost, designate a meeting place. If you are going on a family walk or hike, consider giving children who tend to wander a safety whistle. Tell them that if they get lost, they should SIT DOWN and SCREAM. Panicking and running will only get them more lost.
- Frequently check your children for ticks and tick bites, and consider a quick shower before bed to wash any critters away. The warn water of the bathtub brings out the color best of the telltale bullseye rash form a tick bite. If you see it, take a picture with your phone to bring to the pediatrician. Also, if you do pull a tick off your child, save it in a plastic baggie for testing at the pediatrician.
- Flashlights are handy if your family’s festivities go on into the night, as well as glow sticks or reflective clothing.
- For extra safety, consider taking an infant and child CPR and Safety class ahead of the holiday. That will arm you with the necessary skills to care for anyone in an emergency, no matter the date.
- Bring a travel first aid kit in your bag, and keep one in your car, bike bag, stroller bag, and in your partner’s car. Restock them regularly.