Warmer weather is a great opportunity for outdoor play- both for children and adults. However, there are steps everyone should take to make sure they keep themselves and their families safe during the summer.
Insect Repellant: There are many insect repellants that are safe to use for children age two and older. Be sure you pick repellants with DEET, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR 3535, or citronella oil. Based on CDC recommendations, if you use a repellant with DEET, be sure the product has less than 20% DEET, do not spray near the mouth or eyes, and follow manufacturer’s directions. Do not use repellants with DEET on infants; instead cover them with netting to avoid insect bites.
Water Safety: Never let your child play in or near water without an adult present. Even if children know how to swim, they may still be at risk. Also remember that infants, toddlers, and young children can drown in as little as two inches of water. Make sure that children wear life jackets in and around natural bodies of water, even if they know how to swim. Pools should have a four-sided fence, separating the pool from the house and preventing accidents. Also, teach kids to swim to prevent drowning and learn CPR in case of an emergency.
Sun Safety: Overexposure to sun and ultraviolet light increases the risk of developing skin cancer. Regular daily use of SPF 15 sunscreen can reduce your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40 percent and lower your melanoma risk by 50 percent, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Sunscreen should be applied 30-45 minutes before exposure to the sun, and should be reapplied every two hours or sooner if you or your child has been swimming or sweating. While SPF 15 is the minimum, for extended time in the sun, it is recommended that you use sunscreen of at least SPF 30. Keep in mind, the CDC does not recommend using sunscreen on babies younger than six months old. Instead, aim to keep them out of the sun and use protective clothing when necessary. Be sure to stay in the shade whenever possible, and wear clothes that protect you from the sun, such as a hat, sunglasses, and UV protective clothing. Schedule outdoor activities for morning and evening hours when the sun is not as strong.
Bicycle Safety: All children 14 years of age and younger are required by law to wear bicycle helmets to protect against serious injury. Based on data from the Children’s Safety Network, if all children age 14 and younger wore helmets when biking, nearly 300 deaths could be prevented per year. While not required by law, it is strongly encouraged that adults also wear a helmet when biking, in addition to learning proper hand signals and wearing reflectors when riding at night.
For questions on summer safety please contact the Livingston County Department of Health at (585) 243-7299 or visit our website.