|While your children are busy exploring the world this summer, Daviess Community Hospital reminds you to be sure to help protect them from outside hazards.|
“Whether it’s sunny or cloudy, UV rays can damage skin,” says Dr. Jim Spiller, Chief of Staff and Emergency Department Medical Director at DCH. “Remember to apply sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher on your children 30 minutes before they head outside.” Doing so not only helps prevent an uncomfortable sunburn today, but also protects against skin cancer in the future. Children should also be encouraged to play in the shade, wear hats and sunglasses, and reapply sunscreen every two hours or after water exposure.
Dr. Spiller says the outdoors can also be a place where children can be injured while at play. “As children race around on bicycles, skateboards or in-line skates, tumbles are bound to happen.” To help prevent serious injury, outfit children in protective gear (helmet, wrist guards, knee pads and/or shin guards) whenever they are on wheels. Also, make sure that your child’s bike is the right size to make pedaling, braking and steering easy. Oversized bikes are particularly dangerous. If your children want to use ramps and jumps, take them to parks especially designed with these features, rather than letting them make their own.
“Bites are also a problem for children,“ says Dr. Spiller. “A bite from a deer tick can cause Lyme disease, and mosquito bites can lead to West Nile virus.” To help protect against insect bites, you can use repellents containing a 30% concentration or less of DEET on children older than 2 months old. Also, avoid playing where insects are more likely to be found, such as stagnant pools of water, thick brush and blooming flower gardens. Have children wear hats, long sleeves and pants when playing in the woods.
For more information about keeping your child safe this summer, contact your pediatrician or family physician.