School is out and children are free of the classroom until the fall. While kids rejoice upon reaching this annual period of freedom, parents who are unable to supervise their child at all times may, naturally, experience some anxiety during this time. Keeping in mind the many difficult realities of parenting under these circumstances, the attorneys at Decof, Decof & Barry offer the following tips to help keep your child safe during summer vacation:
Communicate with your child. Spending every moment of your child’s summer vacation with him or her may be impossible. Therefore, if your child is of an age old enough to exhibit some independence, always inquire as to what your child’s tentative plans are and where your child is going before he or she leaves your presence.
If your child is not yet of an age where he or she can be left alone for extended periods of time, ensure that a responsible person is around to care for your child when necessary. Some channels that ensure adequate supervision of young children include babysitters and summer camps.
Protect your child from the sun. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, sun exposure and sunburns during childhood multiply the risk of someday developing skin cancer, including melanoma. Moreover, as few as six sunburns may double a child’s long-term risk for melanoma. For the above reasons, it is vital that sunscreen be applied to your child when he or she is exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays. Choose a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 and apply sunscreen to your child 30 minutes before exposure to the sun. Equally important, reapply sunscreen every two hours, but more frequently if your child is sweating or swimming.
Aside from sunscreen, protective clothing may reduce the harmful impact of the sun on your child. Your child may enjoy playtime outdoors for longer periods of time by simply wearing a hat, sunglasses and/or a shirt.
Protect your child from the heat. UV rays are not the only danger that the sun poses to children; extreme heat causes, on average, 658 deaths in the United States per year. Furthermore, infants and children up to four years of age are at the greatest risk for heat-related illnesses. The following tips will help to protect your child from these types of illnesses:
- Have your child drink plenty of fluids;
- Have your child enter an air-conditioned space or take a cool bath/shower to cool off;
- Have your child wear lightweight, light colored and loose-fitting clothing;
- Limit your child’s outdoor exercise to morning and evening hours when possible; and
- Never leave your child in a closed, parked vehicle.
Tell insects to “bug off.” With warm weather and humidity come bugs and the various diseases that may be spread therefrom. Most notably, Zika, West Nile Virus and Lyme disease are seriously harmful diseases transmitted by insects. Protect your child by using an effective insect repellant when partaking in outdoor activities. Mosquitoes, the insects carrying Zika and West Nile Virus, frequent our surroundings more commonly during the twilight hours; however, ticks hide in grassy areas during all parts of the day. Thus, it is important to apply bug spray to your child at all hours that he or she spends time in grassy areas. Moreover, check your child for ticks after he or she has returned from a grassy area and see a doctor immediately upon noticing any symptoms of Lyme disease.
The lawyers at Decof, Decof & Barry wish all families a happy and safe summer season.