In this Medical Mindset issue, we’re sharing pediatrician-approved summer safety tips to keep your kids healthy and happy. Medical Mindset is our monthly email series full of pediatric insight, education and information. Sign up here.

Houston summers can be brutal! Whether your family is beating the heat at a pool, taking a road trip vacation or picnicking at the beach, your little stars need extra care this summer.

Water Safety

Jumping in the pool or the ocean are easy ways to cool off. But water can be dangerous for your kiddos if precautions aren’t taken. Luckily, there are ways to keep them safe!

  • Supervise them – All kids—even those who know how to swim—should have adult supervision when they’re around water. We suggest having them within arms reach to provide “touch supervision” for fast help should they need it.
  • Wear a life jacket – Make sure your child wears a proper-fitting, Coast Guard-approved flotation device (like a life vest) every time they get into water. For kids under 5, look for a vest with head support and a strap between the legs.
  • Be aware – If your child is shivering or complaining of muscle cramps, get them out of the water! Water causes the body temperature to drop faster than when on land and hypothermia can set in quickly in children under the age of four in water as warm as 80°F.

Heat Safety

Who can stand to stay inside during these beautiful summer days? When letting your kids play outdoors, it’s important to prepare for the threats the sun can present. Heat-related illnesses pose the biggest threat to children between infancy and age 4.1

  • Lather up – Applying sunscreen is very important even if you child doesn’t seem to burn. Apply 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapply every 2 hours and after a swim.
  • Keep them by your side – It’s never safe to leave your children in the car, even with the windows cracked. It only takes 10 minutes for the temperature in a car to rise 20 degrees.2
  • Stay hydrated – Prevent any sun-related illnesses by providing lots of fluids before, during and after activities in the sun. If your child seems to be abnormally tired, if their lips or tongue are dry or if they feel like their overheated, it might be dehydration.
  • Stay cool – Make sure kids wear light colored clothing, avoid the peak hours of sun exposure (12 PM – 3 PM) and take a break indoors every couple hours. Signs of heat exhaustion are similar to those of dehydration, but also include weakness, fainting, irritability and cool, clammy skin.

Car Safety

Road trips serve up family bonding time like no other travel can! They also require some extra planning, especially when it comes to safety.

  • Instill habits – Teach your kids at an early age to always wear seat belts correctly when in a car, and remind kids under 12 that it’s safer for them to be in the back seat. Forming these habits early will help your kids know what to do do even when they travel with other people who may not be as aware.
  • Give them the best – When looking at car seats for your kiddos, the proper size and fit are far more valuable than the price of the car seat. Don’t use car seats older than 6 years because the fit, form and durability of the seat are affected and changed over time.
  • Make sure they stay safe – Car seats should be in the back seat, rear-facing to all for better protection of the neck and back, especially in any sort of collision.

If you have any questions of concerns about your child’s safety, you should always contact your primary care provider.

NightLight Pediatric Urgent Care hosts car seat inspection events with a certified technician to ensure your car seat works specifically for your child’s needs and your car. Make sure you’ve liked our Facebook Page to be invited to the next inspection coming soon.

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Sources:

1https://www.unitypoint.org/desmoines/article.aspx?id=40201e62-a488-44a7-af16-288cdebc9bae

2https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/hot-cars-and-kids/death-hot-cars-facts-figures-prevention-n153776