It won’t be long before the sun’s shining again and the weather’s warm enough to spend the day outside. The kids will want to bolt out the door at the first opportunity, looking for the first opportunity to go swimming, to play outside with friends and run down the ice cream truck. Just like old times. That’s welcome news after a long, cold winter.
But sometimes kids get so excited about playing outdoors again that they ignore or overlook dangers that can turn a good time into a misadventure with cuts, bruises, bites, burns and skinned knees. This spring and summer, plan ahead so your children have a good time playing with friends without worrying about unpleasant surprises.
It doesn’t take long for the sun to damage your child’s skin. This year, make sure they’re adequately protected with a sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher. Sunscreen should be applied at least 30 minutes prior to going out into the sunlight and reapplied every two hours. Cover any exposed skin, but try to keep your child protected from the sun’s rays with weather-appropriate clothing, including a hat. Don’t be fooled when the skies cloud over. Some of the worst sunburns happen when there’s cloud cover, especially if you’re near water. Cold compresses and aloe-based ointments are generally best for treating burns. Read here for 10 tips to stay safe in the sun.
Summers have been brutal in many parts of the United States in recent years. The dangers of heat exhaustion and heatstroke are real and can quickly become a problem when temperatures and humidity levels rise to dangerous levels. Be sure your children are wearing light clothing and are well-hydrated before venturing out on a hot day. Give them water bottles they can drink from while they’re playing. Hats will keep the sunlight off your kids’ heads and protect them from scalp burns.
Children are often unaware that metallic objects left out in the sun become so hot that you could fry an egg on them. That goes for car exteriors, grills and metallic garden and cooking tools left lying around in the yard. Warn your children to avoid coming into contact with hot, shiny surfaces and don’t let them lean against the car. A serious burn could result. Be aware that most first-degree burns can be treated with cool, running water, cleaned with soap and water, and dressed with a sterile material.
Plants such as poison ivy, poison oak, or sumac can cause highly unpleasant skin reactions in many people. Teach your kids to recognize the three-pointed, notched leaves characteristic of poison ivy, which is most common in the eastern United States. Usually, the oil from the poison ivy leaf can be washed off and rendered inert if caught within about 10 minutes. Otherwise, apply hydrocortisone cream and an antihistamine to treat the itch. And make sure your kids don’t scratch a poison ivy infection (easier said than done), which will spread very quickly.
If your children have been begging you for a new swing set, make sure you buy a safe one. Gorilla Playsets makes a strong and durable vinyl swing set that’s safe for children age 4 and up. Installation is easy and it’s a low-maintenance offering that doesn’t become a safety threat as it ages. Read the set-up instructions carefully because approximately 51,000 children are injured every year playing on home playground equipment.
Depending on their age, your children may already be familiar with many of these safety precautions. But, you should review them before turning your kids loose in the neighborhood. Where kids are concerned, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.
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