By Shanna Lisberg
Children’s health and wellness has always been a key issue for the Junior League. Programs such as Kids in the Kitchen seek to help reverse childhood obesity and its associated health issues. While living a healthy life involves healthy eating and staying physically fit, a healthy lifestyle should also involve being safe and making healthy lifestyle choices for yourself and your family.
This summer, children will be playing outside and basking in the sunshine, as the warm weather and longer days bring plenty of opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. Help keep your kids safe and healthy this summer with the following tips:
- Keep kids hydrated. Remind children to drink often throughout the day, especially if they are playing. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends drinking about every 20 minutes if kids are active in sports. About five ounces is fine for a kid weighing 88 pounds.
- Protect children’s skin from the sun. Everyone should apply a water-resistant sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays every day of the year. Sunscreen should be at least SPF 30 and should be applied 15 to 30 minutes before going outside
- Sunglasses are a must. Overexposure to UV rays can be especially harmful for the very young. The lens in a child’s eye cannot filter out as much sun as an adult lens. Some studies suggest that 80 percent of sun damage occurs before age 10.
- Inspect playground equipment before letting kids play on it. Before your kids play on the playground, be sure to check it out first. It’s important to make sure that nothing is broken or rusted. Also, keep an eye out for metal equipment and surfaces that can become hot in the sun and can cause burns.
- Make sure your children have proper footwear. While flip-flops can keep feet cool, they are not the most appropriate footwear when children are playing. Make sure your children’s feet are covered to protect them from injury.
- Follow pool safety. Never leave kids alone near the pool and always swim only in designated swimming areas when a lifeguard is on duty. Teach your children to swim. Air filled or foam toys, such as water wings, noodles, or inner tubes, should never be used in place of life jackets. These toys are not designed to keep swimmers safe.
- Bike Safely. Make sure your children know the rules of the road and appropriate hand signals for turning and stopping. Make sure your child always wears a helmet and that it fits properly. Check your child’s bike to make sure the brakes, tires, and reflectors are all working correctly.
- Travel with care. Teach your children to buckle up every time they get in the car, no matter how long the drive. If your children are young, make sure they are adequately secured in age- and size-appropriate car seats and booster seats.
- Beware of insects. Protect your kinds from insect and mosquito bites by using insect repellent. Choose a repellent with no more than 10% to 30% concentration of DEET. Be watchful when it comes to ticks and check your kids every day.
Remember, just because you are being safe, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun this summer!
*Material for this article from How Stuff Works, United Healthcare, the Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate, and the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration.