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It’s summer, summer, summertime…
(I know you’re singing the song now 🙂 You’re welcome.)
Summer is such a fun in the sun time but it is also a time when it is important to pay attention to summer safety for kids. Here are 7 ways to help keep your kids safe this summer (+ every summer).
#1 Avoid Sunburn
Sunshine, in moderation, provides a healthy dose of vitamin D, which is needed for the body to function properly.
However, in today’s world, sunburn can lead to skin cancer, which is why it should be guarded against.
If you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors this summer, stock up on a good brand of sunscreen.
Have your fair share of fun in the sun without having to worry about getting burned.
There are two types of ultraviolet rays that emanate from the sun
UVA: The type of rays that can cause wrinkles + premature aging of the skin
UVB: The type of rays that can cause skin cancer
It’s best to choose a sunblock that protects against both types of UV rays, if you want to protect your skin + your kiddos for years to come.
#2 Safety While Grilling
There’s nothing quite like spending a summer evening barbecuing with family + friends. My girls love when we grill on our patio + they play on the playground near the patio in our backyard.
But remember, grilling involves fire.
Have a fire extinguisher within easy reach + know how to use it.
Even though you may have a fire extinguisher in your home (probably the kitchen) you may have never had to use one.
So, here’s how you do it:
- Pull the pin.
- Aim the hose at the base of the fire.
- Squeeze the handle to release the contents.
- Spray the flames in a fanlike motion until they’re out.
Rule number one of gas grills is that your grill’s lid should be open if you’re going to turn on the gas.
Keep lit cigarettes + matches away from the propane tank + open flame of the grill.
Prevent children + pets from hanging around the grill when in use.
Do not pour cooking oil directly onto food that is being grilled.
This can start a fire. If you want to add a little oil to your grilled veggies, chicken, or fish, apply it before placing the food on the grill.
You can also create a little foil pouch or use a special grilling pan to place the oil, veggies, chicken, or fish before placing it on the grill.
Keep baking soda readily available. DO NOT use water to try to extinguish a grill fire. Instead, pour a box of baking soda onto the fire to snuff it out instantly.
Turn the grill + the propane tank off when not in use.
When finished using the grill, be sure that all knobs have been turned off + that the propane knob has been turned to the off position as well.
Leaking propane poses a fire risk.
#3 Put Off Poison Ivy
“Leaves of three, let it be.”
That’s the general advice given to identify + deal with poison ivy. It’s likely advice that you want to teach your kids too so they can identify + avoid the threat of poison ivy.
This shiny, invasive vine results in an extremely itchy, stubborn + weeping rash that spreads rapidly + seems to take forever to go away, can be avoided if you know what to look for.
What’s the difference between poison ivy, poison oak + poison sumac?
Shiny, dark green leaves, in clusters of three is poison ivy.
Poison oak + poison sumac are indigenous to different climates. Poison ivy, poison oak + poison sumac all cause the dreaded itching rash + are all found in different areas in the United States.
Poison sumac grows as a bush, with stems that contain the telltale shiny dark green leaves, but they are arranged in pairs rather than in threes, like poison ivy.
Poison oak + poison ivy grow in a vine-like formation.
All three of these types of poison plants are invasive, which means they crop up like weeds pretty much anywhere that they are permitted to thrive.
How To Get Rid Of Poison Ivy Around Your Property
Before undertaking poison ivy removal, you’ll want to don protective clothing. Wear heavy pants + long sleeves that cover your arms + legs. Also put on thick socks and boots, as well as thick, protective gloves.
You can either use an herbicide to kill the plants before removing them, or you can don the aforementioned thick, protective gloves and outwear + pull poison ivy out at the root.
After removing poison ivy from your yard, take precautions to prevent the oil from spreading to various parts of your body and by way of your clothing.
Immediately place clothing into the wash + clean with detergent. Thoroughly wash your hands using a liquid soap or detergent. If you think your pet has come into contact with poison ivy, clean him or her as well.
Even jackets, shoes + gardening tools can still have traces of the toxin that remain for years if not properly cleaned. As soon as possible, wash these items, including shoelaces, to avoid further spreading of the poison ivy toxin.
Symptoms Of Poison Ivy
Contact with poison ivy, poison sumac + poison oak results in a raised red rash that spreads and “weeps,” then crusts over. The rash can take weeks to heal as it spreads to various parts of the body causing extreme itching + discomfort.
What do I if one of my kids develops poison ivy?
Poison ivy may start as a rashy patch on one area of the body, such as between the fingers + spread gradually. To prevent it from spreading + to relieve the unbearable itch, apply calamine lotion to affected areas. There are also “barrier” creams designed to prevent the spread of this annoying rash.
Other ways to relieve reactions to poison ivy are:
- Hydrocortisone creams: May reduce discomfort due to a poison ivy outbreak.
- Antihistamine: Since the reaction to the poison ivy toxin is generally an allergy, an antihistamine is a good choice for keeping symptoms to a minimum.
#4 Protect From Pests: Avoiding Ticks, Fleas + Mosquitoes
Ticks + mosquitoes have become more than just a small problem in recent years. These irritating pests carry diseases that can stay with you or your kid for life.
If you know you’re going to be potentially exposed to ticks, fleas + mosquitoes this summer:
- Wear long sleeves + long pants when hiking in the woods.
- Tie back long hair. Ticks are attracted to hair things that move. So if you have long hair, keep it under a hat or tied into a bun or kerchief while you’re hiking out in the wilderness.
- Try a natural bug spray. Ticks, fleas + mosquitoes are repelled by the strong scents of citronella, peppermint oil + clove oil.
- You can make a chemical-free bug spray at home by adding a few drops of each of these oils along with water + a spoonful of witch hazel as a preservative. Natural flea + tick sprays are also found in the pet aisle of your local grocery store, at pet supply stores + at home and garden centers.
- Perform a nightly tick check. It takes 24 hours for a tick that carries diseases such as Lyme or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever to spread them while attached to your body. So if you know you’ll be outdoors, even if it’s just for a short walk through the neighborhood or an hour in the back yard, be sure to do a tick check before bed.
What to do if you find a tick (or ten of them):
If you find a tick, don’t panic. In most cases it will be a dog tick which does not spread rickettsia type bacteria such as Lyme.
There are tick removers you can use to be sure the head isn’t left behind when you pull the tick out. If you do end up leaving the tick’s head embedded, don’t attempt to scrape it out.
Your or your kid’s body will use its natural defenses to gradually release the remaining part of the tick. This helps to reduce the likelihood of disease spreading from the tick to you or your child.
#5 Family Road Trip Safety
There’s nothing like a summer vacation to break up the monotony of your daily life + serve as the highlight of your entire year.
Summer vacations are often the best memories to look back on, with trips to new places, exciting options in dining + amusements + plenty of sightseeing + fun.
Before you head off on your next family or friend adventure, be sure to keep some safety tips in mind.
Never leave children unattended, either in hotel rooms, by the pool, or while out + about.
Have your kids stay together in a group, with an adult overseeing them at all times. If you need to take a break, you can always have another adult from the group keep watch while you rest or head out for a walk.
Keep your room locked at all times — when you are in + out of the room. Don’t give out your hotel key card.
If you are sharing adjacent rooms with your children or another family or group of friends, be sure that everyone in the adjacent room is also keeping their door locked.
Have an emergency plan in place. Tell kids step by step what to do if they’re lost or otherwise separated from the group, or if something unexpected occurs.