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Jun 30

Summer Child Safety Tips

Here are some safety tips to keep in mind while enjoying the summer with your children.  These tips were gathered from Iowa Health System, CDC, and WebMD.

  • Never leave children alone in or near water.  Children can drown in less than 2” of water, even less for infants/toddlers.  Drownings are the leading death cause for children age 1-4 years.  Be aware of your child at all times.  If your child has aspirated water during a “near drowning” incident and continues to have cough, shortness of breath, or pain in their chest, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Avoid using any type of inflatable swimming aids such as “water wings” or “floaties.”  They are not a substitute for approved life vests and can give children a false sense of security.  Ensure life vests are US Coast Guard Approved and fit appropriately.
  • Babies under six months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight and never exposed to the sun.  Move your baby to the shade or under a tree or umbrella.  The skin of babies under six months old is too sensitive to use sunscreen.  Take walks before 10 am or after 4 pm to avoid damaging UV rays.  Dress babies in lightweight clothing to cover arms and legs (darker colors offer more protection than lighter colors) and wide-brimmed hats to protect head, face, neck and ears.
  • Look for sunglasses that wrap around and provide protection as close to 100% as possible from both UVA and UVB rays.  Prolonged exposure to UVA rays can lead to development of cataracts, macular degeneration, and other chronic eye conditions.
  • Apply sunscreen to children over 6 months old with SPF of 15+ at least 30 minutes prior to sun exposure, even on cloudy days.  Apply generously and often and don’t forget ears, nose, lips, and tops of feet.  Children can become sunburned at this age in 20 minutes or less.  Sunburn to children under age 1 year is considered an emergency — call your doctor immediately.  One blistering sunburn as a child doubles the risk of developing melanoma as an adult.
  • Don’t use scented soaps, perfumes or hairsprays on your child.  Bugs are attracted to these scents.  Use of insect repellent containing oil of lemon eucalyptus is not recommended for children under 3 years.  Those containing DEET should not be used on children under 2 months of age.  If using a combination sunscreen and insect repellent that contains DEET and additional sunscreen is needed, reapply a sunscreen-only product.  Repeated applications of DEET product could lead to potential toxic effects.  Always read the labels of products you use.
  • Make sure you always buckle car seats and seat belts.  For questions regarding Iowa’s Child Passenger Safety laws go to:  http://www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/bystate/ia.html.
  • Never leave your infant or young child alone with pets.  Animals can become easily frightened or aggressive, or may carry disease.  Teach your children to never approach, pet, handle, or feed unfamiliar animals.