“Helping Parents Play it Safe,” Los Angeles Times, June 6, 2011.
Summer is officially here! Last week, June 21, we saw the first day of Summer! Summer brings summer vacation, fun in the sun, backyard barbecues, beach trips, and swim time. A recent Los Angeles Times article in a special issue on Summer Health points out that summer also brings sunburns, accidents, falls, and even drownings. This article presents summer safety tips for babies and children. Experts in the fields of pediatrics and child safety contributed to the discussion via a Web chat hosted by Chicago Tribune health reporter Deborah L. Shelton. Contributing to Shelton’s Web chat were Dr. Ken Polin, assistant professor of clinical pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and Andrea Garces, community educator on child safety issues at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
5 SUMMERTIME SAFETY TIPS FOR BABIES:
- APPLY SUNSCREEN TO BABIES: Studies from Arizona suggest sunscreen is beneficial for babies under 6 months of age. Avoid putting sunscreen near the mouth or on the fingers to avoid ingestion.
- SHADE BABIES, AVOID INFANT SUNGLASSES: Those adorable infant sunglasses are often poorly made and block only the visible light, but not the harmful UV light. The sensitive retina then receives more exposure to harmful UV light, not less, because it dilates the pupil. This does more harm than good. A better option, suggests Shelton, is to keep baby in the shade.
- BABY PROOF WINDOWS: Falls can occur during summertime due to windows left open to cool the house and furniture placed nearby. Babies can crawl up and push the screen out of the window. Suggestions to prevent falls include opening windows no more than 4 inches and keeping furniture (including chairs and cribs) away from the window. Purchase and install safety latches for the window screens. It is also important to avoid allowing babies on balconies or near open windows without a window guard or stop.
- HYDRATE BABIES: Drink some extra water prior to sun exposure, as well as after, to avoid dehydration and heat exhaustion.
- SUPERVISE BABIES IN/NEAR WATER: Accidents, falls and drownings increase in the summertime as hot weather means more time spent in and near the swimming pool. This article emphasizes active parental supervision at all times: when babies/children are in the water and when they are near the water. Shelton’s article points out that a startling 9 out of 10 fatal accidents occur during a brief lapse in supervision.
These summer safety tips are simple and rather inexpensive. Let’s keep baby safe this summer!