Posted on: August 5, 2015
Summer Safety Tips
By Dr. Peter Richel
Keeping children healthy and safe through the summer months takes preventive measures. Children should wear protective gear for whatever activity they may be engaged in—helmets for biking and skateboarding, life jackets for swimming, and so on.
However, there is safety gear for activities you may not consider dangerous. Because ticks are such a concern, I recommend children wear shoes, socks, light pants tucked into the socks, and long sleeves when hiking in the woods. Clothing can be sprayed lightly with Deep Woods Off—but it’s too strong to use directly on children’s skin. For the skin, parents can apply Skintastic or Avon Skin-So-Soft with good repellent quality and demonstrated safety. (However, don’t use these on infants less than 6 months of age.) The best prevention is in daily tick and rash checks—just line up the kids at bath time!
Parents should pack water bottles whenever the family heads out for summer events. And serve children plenty of water-rich fruits like watermelon and oranges throughout summer. They’re great for snacks and will help keep them hydrated.
For protection from the sun, apply a sunscreen of 30 SPF or more at least 30 minutes before heading outdoors. Also remember to wear hats and avoid midday sun exposure. When choosing sunscreen, you should know that there are two types: physical and chemical sunblocks. Over-the-counter sunscreens will protect from both UV-A and UV-B rays. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide block the rays as physical barriers, and also can be fun as they remain visible on the skin and come in many colors.
Products recommended by dermatologists include Australian Blue Lizard, Coppertone Sport (stays on sweaty kids), Neutrogena Ultra Sheer, and Neutrogena Sensitive Skin (which is good for those who have allergic reactions to topical creams). Parents should re-apply sunscreen hourly if possible, especially if children are swimming. Don’t be fooled by a cloudy day—the rays still get to the skin.
By taking a few extra safety measures, you can make sure that you and your family have an active, fun, and healthy summer!
Peter Richel, MD, FAAP is Chief of Pediatrics at Northern Westchester Hospital. He is a member of Westchester Health Associates and has practiced on Smith Avenue in Mt. Kisco since 1990. Dr. Pete has authored “Happy and Healthy,” a book on wellness in the first year of life, and produced a CD of children’s songs called “Welcome to Dr. Pete’s Office.” Both of these are intended to educate and entertain children and their families.
Dr. Pete, as he’s fondly known, has received numerous recognitions including: Castle Connolly Top Doctor, Top Pediatrician by the Consumer’s Research Council of America and honored with Patients’ Choice Awards and Compassionate Doctor Awards.