WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2017
|Whether it is Spring Break, Summer Vacation, a Holiday Break, or just a simple getaway, it's a time when the kiddos are out of school and families can "make a break" for potentially warmer, sunnier weather and fun, adventurous and relaxing times. Unfortunately, the planning does not stop once you have your travel, lodging, and activities reservations. Leaving home and away from your normal circumstances takes some additional planning and preparation.
In this installment we will talk about Family Sun and Water Safety. Keep your family safe while on your trip by following these tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
|Check out the rest of our Vacation series:
Sun Safety for Babies
- Babies under 6 months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight. Move your baby to thek shade under a tree, umbrella or stroller canopy. Dress babies in lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs, and use brimmed hats.
- It is okay to apply a small amount of sunscreen on infants under 6 months if there is no way to avoid the sun. Remember it takes 30 minutes to be effective.
Sun Safety for Kids
- Select clothes made of tightly woven fabrics. Cotton clothing is both cool and protective.
- Try to find a wide-brimmed hat that can shade the cheeks, chin, ears and back of the neck. Sunglasses with ultraviolet (UV) protection are also a good idea for protecting your child’s eyes.
- Apply sunscreen to areas of your child’s skin that aren’t covered by clothing. Before applying, test the sunscreen on your child’s back for an allergic reaction. Apply carefully around the eyes, avoiding eyelids. If a rash develops, talk with your pediatrician.
- If your child gets sunburn that results in blistering, pain or fever, contact your pediatrician.
Sun Safety for the Family
- The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Try to keep out of the sun during those hours.
- The sun’s damaging UV rays can bounce back from sand, snow or concrete; so be particularly careful of these areas.
- Wear commercially available sun-protective clothing, like swim shirts.
- Most of the sun’s rays can come through the clouds on an overcast day; so use sun protection even on cloudy days.
- When choosing a sunscreen, look for the words "broad-spectrum" on the label - it means that the sunscreen will protect against both ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays. Choose a water-resistant sunscreen and reapply every two hours or after swimming, sweating or towel drying. You may want to select a sunscreen that does not contain the ingredient oxybenzone, a sunscreen chemical that may have hormonal properties.
- Zinc oxide, a very effective sunscreen, can be used as extra protection on the nose, cheeks, tops of the ears and on the shoulders.
- Use a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. The additional benefits of using sunscreen with SPF 50+ are limited.
- Rub sunscreen in well, making sure to cover all exposed areas, especially the face, nose, ears, feet and hands, and even the backs of the knees.
- Put on sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going outdoors - it needs time to work on the skin.
- Sunscreens should be used for sun protection and not as a reason to stay in the sun longer.
Tanning Salon Dangers
- Many teens and young women go to tanning salons. The UV radiation from tanning salons raises a person’s risk of developing skin cancer, including melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer. Tanning salons are not safe. Teens and others should not use tanning salons.
- The AAP supports legislation prohibiting access to tanning salons or use of artificial tanning devices by children under 18 years of age.
*used with permission from Florida Travel and Tourism Bureau
- Children and adults should never swim alone.
- Provide touch supervision. This means that an adult is within arm's reach anytime your young child is in or near water.
- Be aware that pools and beaches in other countries may not have lifeguards, and pools may have unsafe drains systems. Supervise children closely.
- At the beach, stay within the designated swimming area and ideally within the visibility of a lifeguard.
- Be aware of rip currents. If you should get caught in a current, don’t try to swim against it. Swim parallel to shore until clear of the current.
- Seek shelter in case of storm. Get out of the water. Get off the beach in case of lightning.
- Watch out for traffic – some beaches allow cars.
- Install a fence at least 4 feet high around all four sides of the pool. The fence should not have openings or protrusions that a young child could use to get over, under, or through.
- Make sure pool gates open out from the pool, and self-close and self-latch at a height children can't reach. Consider alarms on the gate to alert you when someone opens the gate. Consider surface wave or underwater alarms as an added layer of protection.
- The safest fence is one that surrounds all 4 sides of the pool and completely separates the pool from the house and yard. If the house serves as the fourth side of the fence, install an alarm on the exit door to the yard and the pool. For additional protection, install window guards on windows facing the pool. Drowning victims have also used pet doors to gain access to pools. Keep all of your barriers and alarms in good repair with fresh batteries.
- Keep rescue equipment (a shepherd's hook – a long pole with a hook on the end — and life preserver) and a portable telephone near the pool. Choose a shepherd's hook and other rescue equipment made of fiberglass or other materials that do not conduct electricity.
- Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as "floaties." They are not a substitute for approved life jackets and can give children and parents a false sense of security.
- Children over age 1 may be at a lower risk of drowning if they have had some formal swimming instruction. However, there is no evidence that swimming lessons or water survival skills courses can prevent drowning in babies younger than 1 year of age.
- The decision to enroll a child over age one in swimming lessons should be made by the parent based on the child's developmental readiness and exposure to water, but swim programs should never be seen as "drown proofing" a child of any age.
- Avoid entrapment: Suction from pool and spa drains can trap a swimmer underwater. Do not use a pool or spa if there are broken or missing drain covers. Ask your pool operator if your pool or spa's drains are compliant with the Pool and Spa Safety Act. If you have a swimming pool or spa, ask your pool service representative to update your drains and other suction fittings with anti-entrapment drain covers and other devices or systems. See PoolSafely.gov for more information on the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.
- Large, inflatable, above-ground pools have become increasingly popular for backyard use. Children may fall in if they lean against the soft side of an inflatable pool. Although such pools are often exempt from local pool fencing requirements, it is essential that they be surrounded by an appropriate fence just as a permanent pool would be so that children cannot gain unsupervised access.
- If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first.
- Share safety instructions with family, friends and neighbors.
- Children should wear life jackets at all times when on boats, docks or near bodies of water. Adults should wear life jackets for their own protection, and to set a good example.
- Make sure the life jacket is the right size for your child. The jacket should not be loose and should always be worn as instructed with all straps belted.
- Blow-up water wings, toys, rafts and air mattresses should not be used as life jackets or personal flotation devices.
- Adolescents and adults should be warned of the dangers of boating even as a passenger when under the influence of alcohol, drugs, and even some prescription medications.
Open Water Swimming
- A lifeguard (or another adult who knows about water rescue) needs to be watching children whenever they are in or near the water. Younger children should be closely supervised while in or near the water – use "touch supervision," keeping no more than an arm's length away.
- Make sure your child knows never to dive into water except when permitted by an adult who knows the depth of the water and who has checked for underwater objects.
- Never let your child swim in canals or any fast moving water.
- Ocean swimming should only be allowed when a lifeguard is on duty.
- Teach children about rip currents. If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to shore until you escape the current, and then swim back to shore.
SOURCE - HealthyChildren.org - Spring Break Safety Tips & American Academy of Pediatrics - Sun and Water Safety Tips
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