“School’s Out for Summer!” Remember that song? In the city of Lee’s Summit, we are fortunate to have plenty of lakes and streams as well as livable streets for bike riding. Please consider these safety actions when planning events for summer time fun!
1.) Water Safety
• Stay close, be alert and watch children in and around the pool, lake or stream.
• Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
• Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim.
• Learn to perform CPR on children and adults.
• Install a four-foot-or-taller fence around the pool and spa and use self-closing and self-latching gates.
• Install and use a lockable safety cover on your spa.
• Install pool and gate alarms to alert you when children go near the water.
• Ensure any pool and spa you use has compliant drain covers.
• Make sure all children wear approved life jackets when boating.
2.) Bike Safety
• Wear a bike helmet EVERY TIME YOU RIDE, even if you are going for a short ride. Your bike helmet should fit you properly. Never wear a hat under your bike helmet.
• Your helmet should have a sticker that says it meets standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
• Wear your helmet the right way so it will protect you. It should be worn level and cover your forehead. Don’t tip it back so your forehead is showing. The straps should always be fastened and snug.
• If you do fall down and put your helmet to the test, be sure to get a new one. They don’t work as well after a major crash.
• Make sure your bike is the right size.
• You’ll also want to make sure that nothing will get caught in your bike chain, such as loose pant legs, straps, or shoelaces. Wear the right shoes — sneakers — when you bike. And never go riding barefoot!
• Kids younger than 10 years should ride on the sidewalk and avoid the street. You need to keep an eye out for cars and trucks. Even if you’re just riding on sidewalk, a car may pull out of its driveway into the path of your bike. If you’re crossing a busy road, it’s best to walk your bike across the street.
• When passing other bikers or people on the street or path, always pass to their left side, and call out “On your left!” so they know that you are coming.
3.) Sunscreen & Skin safety
• Dark- and light-skinned people need protection from UV rays because any tanning or burning causes skin damage.
• Seek shade when the sun is at its highest overhead and therefore strongest usually from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Even on cloudy, cool, or overcast days, UV rays travel through the clouds and reflect off sand, water, and even concrete. This “invisible sun” can cause unexpected sunburn and skin damage.
• Make sure your kids don’t use tanning beds at any time, even to “prepare” for a trip to a warm climate.
• The best protection for babies under 6 months of age is shade. If your baby must be in the sun, dress him or her in clothing that covers the body, including hats with wide brims.
• Sunscreen sprays should be used with caution. Sprays are easy to breathe in, which can irritate the lungs. Some are flammable, so you need to avoid sparks or flames when applying them and wearing them.
• Don’t use sunscreens with PABA, which can cause skin allergies.
• Don’t forget about ears, hands, feet, shoulders, and behind the neck. Lift up bathing suit straps and apply sunscreen underneath them. Protect lips with an SPF 30 lip balm.
• Apply sunscreen generously to cover the exposed areas of the body. Apply sunscreen about 15 to 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply often, about every 2 hours.
• Apply a water-resistant sunscreen if kids will be around water or swimming. Water reflects and intensifies the sun’s rays, so kids need protection that lasts.
• Throw out any sunscreen that is past its expiration date or that you have had for 3 years or longer.
• Every child needs sun protection. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that all kids — regardless of their skin tone — wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
4.) Bug Spray Use
• Products containing DEET are very safe when used according to the directions. You can reduce your risks when using insect repellents with DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus by reading and following product labels.
• Do not apply bug sprays over cuts, wounds, or irritated skin.
• Use just enough insect repellent to cover exposed skin and clothing.
• Do not use under clothing.
• Avoid putting on too much bug spray.
• After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water.
• Wash treated clothing before wearing it again.
• Do not spray in enclosed areas.
• To apply to face, spray on hands first and then rub on face. Do not spray directly onto face.
• When using bug spray on a child, apply it to your own hands and then rub them on your child. Avoid children’s eyes and mouth and use it sparingly around their ears.
• Do not apply repellent to children’s hands.
• Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children less than 3 years old.
• The American Academy of Pediatrics and other experts recommend that DEET repellents not be used on infants less than 2 months old.
Have a fun, SAFE, summer!
Author Cheryl A. Orr, RN, BSN is a District Nurse with Lee’s Summit’s R7 Schools. She also serves as a member of Lee’s Summit’s Health Education Advisory Board.