TrustCare | Springtime Safety for Kids

Springtime Safety for Kids

in Blog TrustCare Kids

The spring season brings new adventures and opportunities for physical activity for children, but it also brings many unique challenges – from UV protection to outdoor safety to allergy concerns and more.

Playing outside is an important part of childhood, and a beautiful spring day is an ideal time to enjoy the great outdoors. Here are some tips to help your child get the most out of springtime fun while keeping them safe in the process.

Protect Your Child from the Sun

The sun’s rays can be surprisingly intense in the spring, especially if your child spent most of the winter indoors. Sunburns can quickly happen, even on cool or cloudy days. The solution? Sunscreen.

We recommend following the 30-30 rule. All children older than six months should wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher on any exposed skin. Apply the sunscreen at least 30 minutes prior to outside play so it fully absorbs into your child’s skin. (If your child is swimming and/or sweating, you should reapply at least every two hours.)

Sunscreen is not recommended for infants who are younger than six months. Instead, you can protect your baby by keeping them in the shade and dressing them in sun-protective clothing and a hat. Older children should also wear a hat and sunglasses when they go outside.

Remember, the sun’s rays are strongest from late morning to mid-afternoon, so use extra caution during this time.

Avoid Overheating

Along with fun in the sun comes an increased risk of dehydration. Make sure that your child drinks plenty of water, even if they don’t feel thirsty yet – thirst is the brain’s way of warning us that dehydration has already started. Avoid sugary drinks, such as soda or juice, which can dehydrate your child even further.

Current recommendations are for children to drink their age in 8-ounce glasses of water until they turn eight – for example, a four-year-old needs four 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Children who are eight and older should drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. (Of course, when playing outside, extra water is a good idea!)

Many of the same strategies that help prevent sunburn can also help stop your child from overheating:

  • Encourage your child to play in the shade when possible
  • Limit outdoor activities from late morning to mid-afternoon, when the sun’s rays are strongest
  • Take frequent breaks to drink water and reapply sunscreen

Signs of Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke

Always watch for warning signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, such as:

  • Flushed, pale, or clammy skin
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Dry mouth
  • Crying without tears
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Rapid breathing

If your child has any of these signs, stop whatever activity they are doing, cool them down, and give them water to drink. If your child does not improve, seek medical help right away.

Wear the Right Safety Gear

With the brighter weather here, you might soon be getting out your child’s outdoor gear. Just remember not to forget the safety gear!

Bicycle safety is especially crucial. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 400,000 children require emergency medical care every year due to bicycle injuries. Research shows that the majority of serious injuries could be prevented by wearing a bicycle helmet, which reduces the likelihood of head injuries by up to 85 percent.

Your child’s bicycle helmet should have a durable outer shell with a polystyrene liner and sit low and level on their forehead. You should only be able to place one finger between your child’s chin and the helmet straps. Any helmet that moves or has excess space should be readjusted to fit securely.

Never use a helmet that was in a previous accident, even if it appears to be undamaged. Extra safety gear like elbow pads and knee pads can also help prevent injuries.

Be Aware at the Pool or Beach

Drowning can happen quickly (and quietly) anywhere there is water, even if your child is an experienced swimmer.

You play a key role in protecting your child from drowning and other water-related injuries by watching them closely. Avoid distracting activities such as using your phone or reading whenever your child is in or near water. Every child should have at least one adult supervisor, even if the pool or beach has a lifeguard on duty.

Remind your child never to swallow pool water, which may contain germs that can make them sick. If your child has an open cut or wound, use a waterproof bandage to cover it or keep your child out of the water until it heals.

Shield Against Insect Bites and Stings

Outdoor activities increase the possibility of insect bites and stings. Many types of insects – including mosquitoes, ticks, flies, and fleas – can also spread germs.

Using an insect repellent registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can help protect your child when they go outside:

  • Apply the insect repellent to your hands first and only use enough to cover your child’s skin
  • Never apply insect repellent to your child’s eyes, mouth, or hands (or to open cuts or wounds)
  • Apply insect repellent after sunscreen
  • Be sure to wash your hands immediately

Dress your child in clothing that covers their arms and legs, and use extra caution in tall grass, brush, and other areas where ticks and other insects are likely present. Cover strollers and baby carriers with mosquito netting for added protection.

Stings from yellow jackets, hornets, fire ants, and the like can be painful and life-threatening. If your child has a previous allergic reaction to insect bites or stings, be sure to carry an EpiPen with you at all times. Seek immediate care if your child has difficulty breathing, dizziness, nausea, swelling of the tongue, or loses consciousness.

Spring into TrustCare Kids

TrustCare Kids is committed to pediatric wellness, with urgent care clinics that stay open late and on weekends and comprehensive primary care designed to keep your child healthy now and in the future.

TrustCare Kids offers pediatric primary care by appointment and urgent care on a walk-in basis. To learn more, schedule an appointment or visit your nearest TrustCare Kids clinic today.

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