Advice and tips for keeping kids safe in summer and beyond.
It’s summer time at last, schools out and it’s time for some fun. And if the sun is shining, then it’s likely that you will be spending much more time outside. Find out how to keep your children safe and healthy while they enjoy their summer fun.
Keeping kids safe in summer: Car safety
The inside of a car can reach dangerous temperatures quickly, even when the outside temperature is not hot. Never leave a child alone in a car, even if you expect to come back soon.
Give them lots of fluids
It’s vital that kids drink fluids often during warmer weather. If your child participates in sports or runs around a lot, they should drink some extra fluid, such as water or juice before and during their activity. The ideal way to prevent dehydration is to make sure you chlld get plenty of fluids when they’re sick or physically active — they should consume more fluids than they lose (from vomiting, diarrhoea, or sweating). And remember that thirst is not the first sign of dehyration. A child can already be dehydrated before feeling thirsty – this is why kids need to keep on consuming fluids.
Keeping kids safe in summer: Sun safety
Make the most of sunny days with your children, but always keep them protected from the sun – not only is sunburn painful, it also increases the risk of skin cancer in later life. Children and babies have very sensitive skin, which can burn easily.
Babies and the sun
Keep babies under six months in the shade as much as possible:
- Make use of shade that is around you and use extra shade for prams, strollers as needed.
- Make sure the shade casts a dark shadow.
Make sure babies are covered up:
- Dress babies in loose-fitting outfits with long sleeves and long shorts. Make sure they are made from close-woven material that does not allow sunlight through.
- If infants are kept in the shade and covered with clothes you will only need to use a small amount of sunscreen on the areas not covered with clothes. This can be reapplied every two hours.
- Choose a sunscreen that is made for children and babies. Make sure to patch test it on their skin first. If their skin reacts to the product stop using it straight away, and try a different brand.
Keep older children safe by following the SunSmart Code:
- Slip on sun protective clothing.
- Slap on a hat – a wide brim that gives shade to the face, neck and ears.
- Slop on sunscreen – use appropriate factor and reapply often and always after swimming.
- Seek shade – especially between 11 a.m and 3 p.m.
- Wear wrap-around sunglasses from as early an age as possible.
Children who are at greater risk of skin damage
All children are at risk of UV damage, even those who tan easily and need to be protected with the SunSmart code. However, some children are more at risk, especially if they have:
- Pale or freckled skin that does not tan or burns before it tans.
- Red or fair hair.
- Blue, green or grey eyes.
- A large number of moles.
Check the UV index in your area – this is a guide to how sunsmart you need to be to reduce your risk of skin cancer. Remember that up to 90% of UV rays can pass through light clouds – so you need to take care on cloudy days too.
See more at http://www.cancer.ie
Keeping kids safe in summer: Food safety
Practice good food and hand hygiene and make sure food is properly cooked before serving it For more detailed barbecue food safety advice, here are Safefood’s six golden rules for a safe barbecue:
1. Burgers, sausages and kebabs, and poultry must be cooked all the way through – but steaks or whole meat joints can be served ‘rare’ as harmful bacteria are on the outside only, and not in the centre.
2. If you like to marinate your meat, make sure any marinade used on raw meat is not then used to coat vegetables or cooked meat.
3. If you choose to barbecue any frozen food, it must be completely thawed on the bottom shelf of your fridge before you cook it.
4. When handling raw meat and poultry, wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, especially if preparing salads at the same time.
5. Once your meat is cooked thoroughly, keep it away from raw meat and use separate chopping boards, cooking utensils and plates. Harmful bacteria in raw meat, poultry and their juices can contaminate cooked food and lead to food poisoning.
6. If there are leftovers from your barbecue, allow the food to cool before refrigerating, however make sure to refrigerate food within two hours of cooking. The golden rule for leftovers is – if in doubt, throw it out.
Constant responsible adult supervision of children is important around barbecues.
- Do not allow babies or young children near the cooking area.
- Set up the barbecue in an area that children do not need to go through to get to their play area, toys etc.
- Set up the barbecue where you can talk to the children without them needing to come close to the cooking area.
- Do not park a buggy near a barbecue – children can move quickly and they may roll, or be rolled, too close to the barbecue in seconds.
- Do not use a baby walker – it serves no beneficial function to children, may hinder walking ability and it places babies at greater risks of burns, scalds, head injuries, falls and poisonings.
Keeping kids safe in summer:Water safety
Never leave your child alone near, with or in water inside or outside your home – children can drown in seconds and in silence in a very small amount of water The HSE has the following advice for water safety and children:
- Build up the amount of time your baby spends in the water – start with short sessions.
- Do not get cold/let your child get cold – remember body temperature drops quickly in cold water.
- Don’t bring a child who is sick swimming.
- Use swim nappies for babies and young children.
- Do not swim in pools that look discoloured – you should always be able to see the bottom of the pool.
- Be aware of bathing water quality and do not swim where water quality is poor.
- Local authority – you can contact your local authority if you have any queries on bathing waters in your area. Many local authorities provide bathing water results and other information on their own websites.
- At the bathing water – lifeguards, where present, will fly the red flags when bathing waters are considered unsafe for bathing. You can check out the notice boards to see the latest water quality and any warnings or advice.
Teach your baby to swim
If you can, bring your baby or child to swimming lessons as early as possible. According to Water Babies, learning to get to the side, hold on, get out and/or swim could save your child’s life one day, so they teach vital safety techniques from birth. Swimming from birth is fantastic for your baby’s health and development, and could spark a lifetime’s interest in sport. Each lesson provides a complete physical work-out, strengthening your baby’s heart and lungs and in turn aiding development of the brain — including stimulating all five senses (taste, smell, touch, sight and sound).
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