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Make Summer Safe for Children

There’s nothing more important than your family’s health and safety. As you and your children enjoy the outdoor activities that are such a fun and special part of summer break, it’s important to focus on some critical areas for a safe and healthy season—water safety, protection from the sun, and insect protection.

Here are some key tips that will help keep your family safe:

Water Safety

Closely supervise children. Even if a lifeguard is present, watch your children carefully when they are near or in water. Most accidents can be prevented with strong supervision. Adults should avoid distractions, such as talking on the phone, texting, reading or using alcohol or drugs. NEVER leave infants or children unattended in water—even in the bathtub.

Make sure they learn how to swim. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends swimming lessons for most children 4 years old and older. The AAP also recommends lessons for younger children, depending on how much they’re exposed to water, emotional maturity, physical limitations and health concerns related to swimming pools.

Wear life jackets. Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard–approved life jacket around oceans, rivers or lakes or when participating in water sports, even if you or your child knows how to swim. Be aware of undercurrents and undertows when at the ocean or lake. Life jackets can be used in and around pools for young or inexperienced swimmers.

Install fencing around pools. Prevent unsupervised swimming around a backyard swimming pool by installing a four-sided, 5-foot-tall isolation fence with self-closing and self-latching gates at a height that children can’t reach. Also, place a cover over the pool that can withstand a person’s weight.

Protection From the Sun

Use strong waterproof sunscreen. Avoid harmful damage from the sun by wearing a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher and using about an ounce every time it’s applied. Water reflects and intensifies the sun's rays, so kids need protection that lasts. Waterproof sunscreens may last up to 80 minutes in the water, but be sure to reapply sunscreen when kids come out of the water.

Move into the shade. Take frequent breaks from the sun’s harmful rays by moving into the shade. If you are on the beach, use a beach umbrella or tent. Breaks in the shade are especially important between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun's rays are strongest.

Wear a large hat and sunglasses. Extended exposure to the sun’s UV rays has been linked to skin cancer and eye damage. Protect the face and eyes of family members. Make sure you buy sunglasses that have 100 percent UV protection.

Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Replenishing fluids is especially crucial during the hot summer months. Dehydration can cause serious health problems, including heatstroke, seizures, brain damage, and even death.

No sun for infants. Babies under six months should be kept out of the sun completely; their skin is too sensitive for sunscreen.

Insect Protection

Cover your body. Prevent mosquito and tick bites by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and hats.

Stay inside at night. Limit time spent outside between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

Clear your yard. Reduce tick populations in your backyard by removing leaf litter, clearing tall brush, mowing the lawn frequently and removing old furniture or trash from your yard.

Check your kids and yourself for ticks. If you find a tick attached to skin, there’s no need to panic. Learn how to safely remove a tick with a set of fine-tipped tweezers.

Use insect repellent. Make sure you apply an effective insect repellent on exposed skin and clothing when you go outdoors.

Protect your family from the Zika virus. The virus is spread through mosquito bites and is linked to birth defects. Learn tips to prevent the spread of Zika

Additional Resources

Get more summer safety guidelines from kidcentral tn.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also offers summer safety tips.

Learn how to prevent drowning.

Visit the East Tennessee Children's Hospital for more water safety tips.

Never leave a child alone in a hot car.

Make sure your child has a bike helmet that meets safety standards and fits properly. It’s critical for their safety.