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Summer Sun Safety for Kids: When it comes to protecting your kids from the sun, sunscreen plays an important role. But sunscreen is just one of the ways to guard against the sun’s damaging rays. Because the sun’s rays can reflect off of the sand and water or other reflective surfaces, hats, and sunglasses can also play an important role in preventing UV damage.

Apply natural sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every two hours or more often after swimming or sweating. Try to stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is at its most intense peak, and try to stay in the shade as much as possible. Check out Environmental Working Group for the safest products.

Get some sun-protective clothing. Dress your kids in hats with wide brims and tightly-woven, light colored cotton clothing.

Sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays.

Protect against insect bites. Bugs are one of those annoyances of summer. Some insects such as mosquitos, ticks and bees can also be harmful to kids. Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants when going outside, particularly at dusk when mosquitoes are more likely to be present. Never leave stagnant water around the outside of your house. Pools of water can serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Avoid using scented soaps or perfumes on your child. Avoid having your child to walk around carrying sweetened beverages, fruit and desserts such as popsicles. The sweet, strong scent can attract bees and wasps and increase your child’s risk of being stung. Use a natural insect repellent, avoiding commercial ones that contain DEET. Talk to your integrative healthcare provider to determine the safest and most effective insect repellent that is best for your family.

Prevent dehydration. Frequent water breaks are essential to prevent dehydration, especially when playing sports or running around outside.

Always wear a helmet. Helmets are a must for any riding device with wheels. Head injuries can be serious and can cause long term adverse effects. Prevention is always key.

Practice food safety: Make sure your children wash their hands before eating. Be cautious of foods that are choking hazards such as hot dogs. Encourage your kids not to run around while eating. Be extra careful when using a barbecue.

Guard against drowning: Put barriers around the pool to restrict access. Use doors with locks and alarms to keep kids out when adults are not present. Never leave kids unsupervised, not even in wading or blow up pools. If your child swallows a large amount of water from the pool, monitor them for any signs of breathing problems or change in energy level.

Avoid trampoline danger: Never let more than one child use the trampoline at a time, do not let kids do somersaults, and do not allow kids younger than 6 play on a full-sized trampoline, and move the trampoline away from other structures or play areas.

Use caution when doing yard work: Never allow children to ride on lawnmowers or to play near motorized lawn equipment. Do not allow children under age 12 to operate push mowers and do not allow children younger than 16 to operate ride-on lawnmowers.



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