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Keeping Your Kids Safe This Summer: 4 Tips

Headed out for a morning hike, a weekend camping trip, or a bike ride through the neighborhood?

No matter the activity, summer means one thing—enjoying the great outdoors.

Check out these simple tips to help protect your little ones while they're on an outdoor adventure.

"Prevention is key," says Dr. Arthur Cho, Cedars-Sinai pediatrician. "Kids will be kids—especially in the summertime. They have lots of free time and so it's important to prepare for that."

Closed-toed shoes

One benefit of summer for kids is not having to lace up tennis shoes. Wearing open-toe shoes to the beach or the pool is appropriate. However, while riding a bike, skateboarding, or hiking, closed-toe shoes are a sensible precaution. Keeping their toes and feet safe will help protect them from cuts and sprains.

"Especially when it comes to high-risk activities, closed-toe shoes are important," says Dr. Cho.



Keep the bugs off

Camping is a great summer activity, and bugs sometimes come with the territory. The best way you and your loved ones can avoid any type of bite is to wear long-sleeve shirts tucked into long pants, and pants tucked into socks.

The second-best way to avoid bites is using bug repellent. Keep mosquitoes and other critters away by spraying 30% DEET insect repellent on exposed skin and clothes. This percentage is the most effective and safest for kids older than 5; use 10% DEET for those younger. DEET is the most common active ingredient in insect repellents.

"If you're outside all day, 30% is fine; if it's just a few hours, then 10% is adequate," says Dr. Susan Rabizadeh, director of Cedars-Sinai's Department of Dermatology.

Other tips:

  • Bug repellent is not recommended for children younger than 2 months old.
  • Always apply sunscreen first, then the repellent.
  • Once they're back inside, kids should take a shower or bath to wash away the bug repellent and sunscreen.


Clean hands

After a couple of hours out and about, children are bound to get a little dirty. Handwashing is the best way to keep germs from spreading, but if soap and water aren't available, hand sanitizer can help. Make sure the hand sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol. One pump should be enough for both hands. Do not apply to the face or other parts of the body.

"While fragrant hand sanitizers are pleasant to smell, some may create allergies," warns Dr. Rabizadeh.

Helmets

Summer is full of opportunities for kids to be physically active outdoors. When they put on their skates or hop on their bikes, skateboards, or hoverboards, wearing a helmet can protect their heads from serious injury.

Head trauma accounts for well over half of life-threatening traumatic injuries in kids, says Dr. Cho.

Make sure the helmet doesn't fall too high or low on the head and the strap fits snugly under the chin.


Get more summer safety tips to help your little ones have a fun and safe summer: 5 Fun-In-The-Sun Safety Tips for Kids