Summer heat is here in full force and now we want to be by the pool, or at the beach, with our kids. But there are a few safety rules to keep in mind to assure that the summer is truly enjoyable.
Baby & Toddler sun safety: Before you go in the sun, apply sunscreen thickly to every area of your baby's/child's skin not covered by clothes or a hat, including their hands and feet. You may find it easier to apply the cream before you get your toddler dressed in the morning. That way, you can be sure you haven't missed any patches. Use a sunscreen specially formulated for babies and children, with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Make sure the sunscreen is a broad-spectrum brand with a four-star or five-star rating. This means it offers UVA and UVB protection, which should be stated on the packaging.
Pool safety 101: Never leave a child unattended in or near water, assure that they are wearing floating devices that are approved for their age and properly placed. Teach children how to swim, babies as early as 6 month of age can learn how to float in water. Install proper barriers, covers and alarms on and around your pool and spa at your home, never leave gates open. Do not leave your kids floating in the pool (even with floats or other such devices), or have your older child guard your younger child. Even in a kids pool, babies can still lose balance, fall with their head in the water and if left for too long, they can drown.
Beach safety: YOU are the first and most important line of defense when it comes to your childs safety. You are now a parent so no more sitting on a chair relaxing in the sun...you are now a full time lifeguard! If your child is near the water, you need to be near the water too. If your child is in the water, you should be ankle-deep next to them or behind them, within arms distance. A small child can go from wetting his or her toes to being knocked over and washed out with the tide, under toe or with a surprise wave. A few seconds glance away could be all it takes.
Equipment: Long gone are the days when going to the beach was just a towel and a bathing suit. Now we seem to pack the entire house going with the kids to the beach. At a minimum, take with you a beach umbrella, chairs and towels, water shoes (to protect little feet from hot sand), hat, plenty of water, sun screen and some fun beach or water toys. All the rest is up to you.... we can be pretty fancy with beach/pool equipment these days.
Have a fun and safe summer