Summer Safety – Advice from a Pediatrician
By: Dr. Raquel Mena

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Accepts Medicaid and CHIP

1. How do I protect my child’s skin from the sun?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests you protect your child’s skin with the use of sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and UVA and UVB (broad spectrum) protection every time your child goes outside. For the best protection, apply sunscreen generously 30 minutes before going outdoors. Follow the directions on the back of the sun screen bottle and remember to reapply during the day (every two hours). This applies even if the sunscreen says it is “waterproof” and “water – resistant.” Remember to protect ears, noses, lips, and the tops of feet. Other ways to protect your child from the sun include: Seeking shade, covering up with clothing and wearing a hat and sunglasses.

A baby or child’s best defense against the sun is to avoid it, especially in a Texas summer. Being out in the heat for long periods of time can cause other health problems such as dehydration.

2. How do I make sure my child stays hydrated during the summer months?

If you notice your child’s skin flushed, dry, warm, they are very thirsty, or their urine is dark yellow, if they are weak, have cramping in their arms and legs, a headache, lack of energy, lightheadedness, dry mouth and dry mouth with thick saliva your child may be dehydrated. Stay ahead of dehydration, front load water intake, and make sure your child is drinking water especially if they will be playing outside later in the day. Water is generally the best way to replace lost fluids or keep ahead of dehydration, but if your child is active, or doing a sport more than 60 minutes, use a sports drink to replenish the fluids lost. Sports drinks can help balance electrolyte levels and give the child more energy because they contain carbohydrates. It is important to remember that sometimes given the choice, a child will choose a sports drink over water. While there is some concern about sugar intake and calories, it is best to be hydrated in the summer heat.

3. How can I be sure my children remain safe around water this summer?

The best way to keep your children safe is to always have an eye on them around any type of water source (pool, pond, lake, ocean, etc.). If they are in arms reach, that is the best. If you have a pool in the back yard, it is safe if there is safe fence around it, and keep a rescue tool, such as a Shepard’s hook to save a child if there an incident.

The person watching the child around the water source should know CPR, it could save a life. When watching children around water, do not be distracted. Have your full attention on the children. One moment of distraction can make the difference.

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