June is Safety Month

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Welcome Summer! This time of year brings to mind sun and water safety. Please be safe in all your endeavors while enjoying the outdoors.

Sun and Water Safety Tips

 Keep your family safe this summer by following these tips

from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Please feel free to use them in any print or broadcast story with
appropriate attribution of source.

FUN IN THE SUN 

Babies under 6 months:

  • The two main

    recommendations from the AAP to prevent sunburn are to avoid sun exposure,

    and to dress infants in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and

    brimmed hats that shade the neck to prevent sunburn. However, when adequate

    clothing and shade are not available, parents can apply a minimal amount

    of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF (sun protection factor) to small areas,

    such as the infant’s face. If an infant gets

    sunburn, apply cool compresses to the affected area.

For All Other Children:

  • The first, and best, line

    of defense against harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure is

    covering up. Wear a hat with a three-inch brim or a bill facing forward,

    sunglasses (look for sunglasses that provide 97% -100% protection against

    both UVA and UVB rays), and clothing with a tight weave.

  • Stay in the shade whenever

    possible, and limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours – between

    10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

  • On both sunny and cloudy

    days use a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater that protects against UVA

    and UVB rays.

  • Be sure to apply enough

    sunscreen — about one ounce per sitting for a young adult.

  • Reapply sunscreen every

    two hours, or after swimming or sweating.

  • Use extra caution near

    water and sand (and even snow!) as they reflect UV rays and may result in

    sunburn more quickly.

HEAT STRESS IN EXERCISING CHILDREN

  • The intensity of

    activities that last 15 minutes or more should be reduced whenever high

    heat or humidity reach critical levels.

  • At the beginning of a

    strenuous exercise program or after traveling to a warmer climate, the

    intensity and duration of outdoor activities should start low and then

    gradually increase over 7 to 14 days to acclimatize to the heat,

    particularly if it is very humid.

  • Before outdoor physical

    activities, children should drink freely and should not feel thirsty. During

    activities less than one hour, water alone is fine. Kids should

    always have water or a sports drink available and take a break to drink

    every 20 minutes while active in the heat.

  • Clothing should be light-colored and

    lightweight and limited to one layer of absorbent material to facilitate

    evaporation of sweat. Sweat-saturated shirts should be replaced by dry

    clothing.

  • Practices and games played

    in the heat should be shortened and there should be more frequent

    water/hydration breaks. Children should promptly move to cooler

    environments if they feel dizzy, lightheaded or nauseous.

POOL SAFETY

  • Never leave children alone

    in or near the pool or spa, even for a moment.

  • Whenever infants or

    toddlers are in or around water, an adult – preferably one who knows how

    to swim and perform CPR – should be within arm’s length, providing “touch

    supervision.”

  • Install a fence at least 4

    feet high around all four sides of the pool. The fence should not have

    openings or protrusions that a young child could use to get over, under,

    or through.

  • Make sure pool gates open

    out from the pool, and self-close and self-latch at a height children

    can’t reach. Consider alarms on the gate to alert you when someone opens

    the gate. Consider surface wave or underwater alarms as an added layer of

    protection.

  • If the house serves as the

    fourth side of a fence surrounding a pool, install an alarm on the exit

    door to the yard and the pool. For additional protection, install window

    guards on windows facing the pool. Drowning victims have also used pet

    doors to gain access to pools. Keep all of your barriers and alarms in

    good repair with fresh batteries.

  • Keep rescue equipment (a

    shepherd’s hook ­– a long pole with a hook on the end — and life

    preserver) and a portable telephone near the pool. Choose a shepherd’s

    hook and other rescue equipment made of fiberglass or other materials that

    do not conduct electricity.

  • Avoid inflatable swimming

    aids such as “floaties.” They are not a substitute for approved life vests

    and can give children and parents a false sense of security.

  • Children ages 1 to 4 may

    be at a lower risk of drowning if they have had some formal swimming

    instruction. However, there is no evidence that swimming lessons or water

    survival skills courses can prevent drowning in babies younger than 1 year of

    age.

  • The decision to enroll a

    1- to 4-year-old child in swimming lessons should be made by the parent

    and based on the child’s developmental readiness, but swim programs should

    never be seen as “drown proofing” a child of any age.

  • Avoid entrapment: Suction

    from pool and spa drains can trap a swimmer underwater. Do not use a

    pool or spa if there are broken or missing drain covers.  Ask your

    pool operator if your pool or spa’s drains are compliant with the Pool and

    Spa Safety Act. If you have a swimming pool or spa, ask your pool service

    representative to update your drains and other suction fitting with

    anti-entrapment drain covers and other devices or systems. See

    PoolSafely.gov for more information on the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and

    Spa Safety Act.

  • Large, inflatable,

    above-ground pools have become increasingly popular for backyard use.

    Children may fall in if they lean against the soft side of an inflatable

    pool. Although such pools are often exempt from local pool fencing

    requirements, it is essential that they be surrounded by an appropriate

    fence just as a permanent pool would be so that children cannot gain

    unsupervised access.

  • If a child is missing,

    look for him or her in the pool or spa first.

  • Share safety instructions

    with family, friends and neighbors.

BOATING SAFETY

  • Children should wear life

    jackets at all times when on boats or near bodies of water.

  • Make sure the life jacket

    is the right size for your child. The jacket should not be loose. It

    should always be worn as instructed with all straps belted.

  • Blow-up water wings, toys,

    rafts and air mattresses should not be used as life jackets or personal

    flotation devices. Adults should wear life jackets for their own

    protection, and to set a good example.

  • Adolescents and adults

    should be warned of the dangers of boating when under the influence of

    alcohol, drugs, and even some prescription medications.

OPEN WATER SWIMMING

  • Never swim alone. Even

    good swimmers need buddies!

  • A lifeguard (or another

    adult who knows about water rescue) needs to be watching children whenever

    they are in or near the water. Younger children should be closely

    supervised while in or near the water – use “touch supervision,” keeping

    no more than an arm’s length away.

  • Make sure your child knows

    never to dive into water except when permitted by an adult who knows the

    depth of the water and who has checked for underwater objects.

  • Never let your child swim

    in canals or any fast moving water.

  • Ocean swimming should only

    be allowed when a lifeguard is on duty.

  • Teach children about rip currents.

    If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to shore until you

    escape the current, and then swim back to shore.

For more tips on sun and water safety, visit
www.healthychildren.org

Copyright © 2013 American Academy of Pediatrics. Please feel
free to use tips in any print or broadcast story with appropriate attribution
of source.

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