Summer Safety Tips for the family (Part 1)

Family enjoying a summer picnic

The warm summer weather presents the perfect opportunity to get outside with the family for some fun in the sun. It’s important that while doing this, you do your best to keep the family safe. To help you do so, our team at Capital Women’s Care has gathered a list of safety tips to keep you and your loved ones happy and healthy this summer. In this two-part series, we will be looking at some safe, summer-specific ways to make the most of your time together with your family.

4 Ways to Protect Your Family This Summer

  1. Practice Safe Sun

    When going outside, you should protect yourself from harmful UVA and UVB rays from the sun. Exposure to these types of light can lead to skin cancer later in life. Adults and older children can protect themselves by wearing at least a 30 SPF sunblock. Sunblock should be applied at least 30 minutes prior to going outside and should be re-applied every two hours. You can also wear loose, long-sleeved clothing, which will keep you cool, but still protect you from the sun. A good pair of sunglasses will protect your eyes from harmful sun rays. Wide-brimmed hats and staying in shaded areas are easy ways to avoid the sun.

    For babies younger than six months, sunblock is not recommended because of their skin sensitivity. Instead, dress your baby in loose-fitting clothes that still covers his or her skin. If you’re using a stroller, keep the shade umbrella up and stick to shaded paths. A wide-brimmed hat can also benefit your baby if you are not using a stroller or have to be in a sunny spot.

    After your baby is older than six months, you should start to introduce sunblock. Use a sunblock that is water resistant and broad spectrum with at least 15 SPF. When first introducing sunblock, test a small amount on your baby’s wrist to make sure he or she does not have a reaction.

  2. Stay Safe in Any Type of Water

    Drowning is the leading cause of injury and death for children between one and four years of age. Although pools are particularly dangerous areas, a child can drown in any amount of water – a lake, bathtub, etc. You should always supervise children swimming or playing in any amount of water. Teaching your family about water safety can be a fun group activity. Consider taking family swim lessons. Visit the pool together to discuss not running on the deck, not diving in shallow water, and lifeguard safety.

    When boating, everyone in your family should wear properly fitted life jackets. These can help in the event of a boat tipping or falling overboard. If you are swimming in the ocean, be aware of currents and tides. If stuck in a current, do not fight the pull; swim parallel to the shore in the direction of the current, until you are able to swim back to shore.

    Any body of water, even chlorinated pools and hot tubs, can contain chemicals and bacteria that can make you sick if ingested. Recreational Water Illnesses (RWIs) can cause a variety of infections including skin, ear, gastrointestinal, eye, wound, and neurologic issues. The most commonly reported RWI is diarrhea. To protect yourself against RWIs, avoid ingesting any non-drinking water. You should also avoid swimming in any pool or hot tub that is not being maintained with regular cleaning and chlorination.

  3. Protect Yourself from the Heat

    Heat-related illness like heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat rash, and heat cramps occur when the body is no longer able to self-regulate temperature and becomes overheated. Symptoms of heat-related illness include:

    • High fever
    • Headache
    • Dizziness
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Confusion
    • Loss of consciousness
    • Heavy sweating
    • Tiredness or weakness

    If you experience any symptoms of a heat stroke, you should immediately call 911, because it is considered an emergency. Other, less-extreme symptoms for other heat-related illnesses can be treated by stopping physical activity, moving to a cooler place, sipping water, and using cool compresses. These symptoms should still be monitored, and a physician should be called if they worsen.

    Infants and children under four are at the greatest risk for heat-related illness. Proper hydration is key to protect yourself and your family from the possibility of heat-related illnesses. If you are going to be outside, try to schedule outdoors time for the early morning or the evening, when it’s cooler. If you are participating in physical activity, give yourself ample time for breaks and rest.

  4. Prevent Insect-Spread Diseases and Viruses

    Unfortunately, hot summer weather also means increased exposure to bugs like ticks, mosquitoes, and stinging insects. Protecting yourself against insects is easy, if armed with the right tools. Find an effective insect repellant registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). When applying your insect repellant, make sure to follow the instructions on the label, including where to spray and how often to re-apply. Insect repellant should not be used on infants younger than two months. Instead, they can be protected by mosquito netting on their stroller and/or clothing that covers their arms and legs. If you’re outside in the yard or going on a family hike, always make sure to check for ticks upon returning. Ticks can carry diseases, such as Lymes disease, that can have serious health implications. Early identification of the possibility of a tick-borne illness is an essential measure of protection from disease progression. If you think a member of your family may have been exposed to a tick-borne illness, contact your PCP immediately.

    Ready to take some steps to keep you and your family health this summer? Reach out to Capital Women’s Care to catch up on your appointments, immunizations, and exams.

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The providers of Capital Women's Care seek the highest quality medical and ethical standard in an environment that nurtures the spirit of caring for every woman.


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