As summer approaches, what are some tips to keep my children healthy and safe?
William Allen, MD answered:
Summer is a great time in the Gallatin Valley to be outside and active. From hiking and camping to being on the water to hanging out with the family at home, this season is a wonderful time. It is also a time that can have unique risks for children.
Living at high altitude, the sun can be intense. Sunscreen should be applied every couple of hours, and after swimming or sweating. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Infants down to two months of age can have sunscreen applied to small areas of exposed skin such as the face or hands but it is better to use hats and protective clothing and avoid any direct sun exposure. Remember to have plenty of water to drink. Children are not always the best at drinking enough, so you may have to remind them.
Summer is time for swimming. Drowning remains one of the leading causes of death in children. It is important to have safety in mind when you are on the water with your children. Get swimming lessons for your children, but even if they know how to swim, an adult should be supervising at all times. Life jackets should be used when boating. I would also encourage you to learn CPR – you just might save a life some day!
Around the neighborhood, riding bicycles is a favorite activity. Traumatic brain injury from falls can be devastating. Children should always use helmets when riding bicycles or skateboarding. Buy a helmet that your child will want to wear – make certain that it fits well and that the straps are not too loose.