In the first ten seconds of being submerged, a child can inhale enough water to cause symptoms of near drowning (Schmitt, 2010). Therefore, water safety is extremely important throughout the summer months. Parents with infants or toddlers should practice “touch supervision” and be at least within an arm’s distance away (AAP, 2013c). For older children, parents must pay constant attention and have no distractions such as cell phones, socializing, or drinking alcohol. The supervising adult should also know how to swim (AAP, 2013c)! The AAP recommends swim lessons for children as early as 1 year of age. Studies have shown that toddlers are less likely to drown if they have had prior swim lessons (Schmitt, 2010). Also, remember to enter water feet first and check how deep the water is; spinal cord injury, brain damage, and death can occur to those who dive into shallow waters (AAP, 2013c).
Insect Bites (AAP, 2013a)
Insect repellent with DEET protects against insects from biting the skin and may be used for children 2 years of age and older. The amount of DEET in these repellents ranges from 10-30%. DEET of a lower concentration such as 10% may protect for about 2 hours whereas, 24% may provide protection for up to 5 hours. DEET higher than 30% does not offer additional protection. It is not recommended to use products that combine DEET and Sunscreen as the DEET can make the SPF less effective. Don’t forget to wash all insect repellent off when your child comes back inside for the night, and avoid areas that attract insects such as stagnant water, garbage cans, and flowerbeds. Dress your child in lightweight long clothing and avoid bright, flowery prints. Lastly, do not use scented soaps, perfumes, or hairsprays before going outside.
Check your child’s skin for ticks at the end of every day. Ticks do not jump or fly, rather, they crawl onto the skin. They are usually found in underbrush and shrubbery, and you should be careful when picnicking, hiking, or playing in tick-infested areas. A tick bite is painless and does not itch, so you may not notice when a tick has attached to the skin (Schmitt, 2011a). Tick’s like dark places such as in the hair, on the scalp, armpits, behind the knees, neck, or groin. If you find a tick, it should be removed right away with tweezers. The area should be washed well with an antibacterial soap after removal. Remember, a tick must be attached for 24 hours or more to transmit Lyme disease (Schmitt, 2011a).
One way to protect against ticks is using Permethrin, which is sprayed onto clothes (Not skin). Duranon and Permanone are examples of products that contain Permethrin. Again, this product should be sprayed onto clothing only: short sleeves, pants cuffs, hats, and shoes (Schmitt, 2011a).
Tiny deer ticks transmit Lyme disease. Of children bitten by deer ticks, only 1% gets Lyme disease (Schmitt, 2011b). Symptoms of Lyme disease may occur days to weeks after the bite, averaging about 11 days (Burns, Dunn, Brady, Starr, & Blosser, 2009). A bull’s eye rash around the bite is the first stage of Lyme disease. As the disease progresses, your child may develop more bulls eye-like rashes on the skin, as well as flu-like symptoms including: fever, headache, sore-throat, chills. Joint pain is one of the later symptoms of progressive Lyme disease. Fortunately, Lyme disease can be treated with a course of antibiotics (Burns et al., 2009).
A reminder: Children who are too young to have a driver’s license should not operate off-road vehicles. In fact, the nervous systems and judgment of children are not fully developed and so, it is particularly dangerous for children under 16 years of age to use these vehicles. All riders old enough should wear helmets, sturdy shoes, eye goggles, and reflective clothing (AAP, 2013b).
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). (2013a). Insect repellents. Retrieved from http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Insect-Repellents.aspx
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). (2013b). Summer safety tips. Retrieved from http://www.healthychildren.org/English/news/Pages/Summer-Safety-Tips-Staying-Safe-Outdoors.aspx
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). (2013c). Water safety and young children. Retrieved from http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Water-Safety-And-Young-Children.aspx
Burns, C.E., Dunn, A.M., Brady, M.A., Starr, N.B., 7 Blosser, C.G. (2009). Pediatric primary care (4thed.). St. Louis, MO: Saunders Elsevier.
Schmitt, B.D. (2011a). Insect bites. Retrieved from http://www.cpnonline.org/CRS/CRS/pa_insectis_hhg.htm
Schmitt, B.D (2011b). Lyme disease. Retrieved from http://www.cpnonline.org/CRS/CRS/pa_lymedis_hhg.htm
Schmitt, B.D. (2010). Swimming programs for infants or toddlers. Retrieved from http://www.cpnonline.org/CRS/CRS/pa_infswim_hhg.htm