Monday, May 3, 2010

Outdoor Summertime Safety

Wear sunscreen
The sun is the strongest from around 10 am to 4 pm.  Sunburns early in life can increase your chances of skin cancer in years to come.  Keep your children's skin protected.  The CDC recommends using an SPF of 15 or higher with UVB and UVA protection.  Reapply every two hours, sooner if your working up a sweat or swimming. If your sunscreen doesn't have an expiration date, pitch it after three years and purchase a new bottle.  Choose cosmetics that have SPF for added protection on a daily basis.

Choose appropriate head wear
Have your children wear hats with brims in the sun to protect their faces, neck, ears, and head from the sun.  If your child prefers ball caps, don't forget to have them apply sunscreen on their exposed skin.

Wearing helmets when they are riding their bikes, scooters, skateboards, or skates can decrease the chances of injury.  Out of the approximate 900 people killed annually in bicycle related deaths, over 200 are children.  Approximately 60% of these deaths are caused due to head injury.  Approximately half a million people are sent to the emergency room every year for injuries sustained in bicycle related incidents.  A helmet worn correctly can decrease your chances of sustaining a head injury by up to 85%.

CPSC tips for choosing a proper bicycle helmet:
  • Wear the helmet flat atop your head, not tilted back at an angle.
  • Make sure the helmet fits snugly and does not obstruct your field of vision.
  • Make sure the chin strap fits securely and that the buckle stays fastened.

Does cost matter?  Nope, at least not according to one study.  One study done showed that the cheap helmets (under $20) performed almost identical to the most expensive ones (from between $150 and $200).

When should you replace your helmet?
  • If you crashed and hit your head (even if the helmet looks undamaged) 
  • If you dropped the helmet on a hard surface and cracked the foam
  • It should have a CPSC, ASTM, or Snell sticker 
  • If it does not fit correctly

Don't forget the sunglasses
Wear sunglasses that protect your eyes from UVA and UVB protection.  This will protect the sensitive skin around your eyes and will also help reduce your chances of developing cataracts.

Wear appropriate footwear and clothing
If your child is at the playground nix the flip flops to avoid falls.  Also, avoid wearing necklaces or drawstrings at the playground as they can catch on the equipment.

Some clothing now offers additional UVA protection.  Darker clothes protect against the sun's rays better than light colored clothing.  A regular t-shirt has an SPF rating of less than 15.

Teach your children about road traffic safety.
Here are some of the basics:
  • They should never run into the street after a toy
  • Always look left, right, left when crossing the street 
  • They should not be playing outside alone
Teach your child street smarts
As much as we don't want to think about bad things happening to our children, we need to be vigilant and teach our children how to stay safe.  One of the things we need to teach them is street smarts. This is taking care of themselves in case they are ever in a compromising situation. 

Here are some tips:
  • Telling your child to never talk to a stranger is not always realistic but do teach them to NEVER go anywhere with a stranger without your permission
  • Talk with your child about the things bad people may say to get them to go with them or to gain their trust
  • Have a secret word that only you and your child know (if you ever need someone your child doesn't know to pick them up they will need to say that word to your child so your child knows they can be trusted)
  • Encourage your child to always stay with friends
  • Teach your child that it is okay to trust their instincts and to run find other adults if someone makes them uncomfortable
What about if your child becomes lost?

  • Teach your child his/her full name at an early age and your names to (if old enough they should also know their address and phone number)
  • Have your child know to stay put and call your name (not mom or dad) if he or she becomes seperated from you
  • If they don't see you or hear you, have them find a woman, a police officer, or a store clerk to help them
If you are going to an amusement park or an area where there will be a lot of people, consider purchasing Safetytats (temporary tattoos with your phone number).  There are also child tracker wrist watches that your children can wear while you wear the reciever.  If your child moves out of a set range, an alarm will sound.  There are also other child tracking devices out there (including some with GPS capabilities).

Drink plenty of fluids
Children have a tendency to lose themselves in play so they may need to be reminded to drink up to avoid heat stroke or dehydration. Children lose fluids more rapidly than adults.

Make sure children are supervised
It is important to keep an eye out for your children.  Make sure they are using playground equipment safely and that there is no "monkey" business. Always inspect the equipment before your children use it (especially if they are toddlers). A playground safety checklist can be viewed and printed by clicking here.  Also, make sure they are taking proper precautions when riding bikes or participating in any other activities outside. 

Image obtained from the CPSC website.


blueviolet said...

Oh geez, I've been wearing my helmet wrong my entire life? It doesn't feel good straight up on my head!!!

parenting ad absurdum said...

Thanks for the reminders - especially on the sunscreen and fluids. Summer just seems to sneak up on you! Do you know - if you use a lotion with sunscreen, does it provide the same level of protection as regular sunscreen, or do you need both?

Lourie said...

In addition to the should even apply on it on a cloudy day because it is on those days that the suns strongest UV rays are shinning down on us.

J. L. W. said...

Parenting ad absurdum-that was a great question. Unfortunately, cosmetics with sunscreen DO NOT provide the same amount of protection which I hadn't realized. Apparently, you may have to apply several layers of makeup on to get the full coverage. The reason seems to be that makeup is absorbed into the skin rather than remaining on the surface of the skin.

Lourie-your right. They recommend using sunscreen to protect against the suns rays which are still evident even on cloudy days and can damage skin. Excellent point!

Ms Bibi said...

Yes, it is that time of the year.

I am so bad with the sunblock. I make sure my kids are always lathered up, but I keep forgetting about myself.

Daisygirl said...

I am so not looking forward to summer! And I so need to load up on some sunscreen!!!

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