Things to Remember When Travelling With Little Daredevils for the Summer
Nothing is more rewarding than experiencing summer through the eyes of your little ones. More than any other, this season is simply made for various kinds of outdoor activities — from cycling to swimming, each of them provide just the right amount of physical workout and multiple health benefits, all while being amusing and fun.
But, beside all this, summer activities are quite suitable for educating your kids on the importance of being careful and staying safe. With so much playfulness, skinned knees, sunburns and occasional colds could be lurking behind every corner, so taking all the necessary precautions is quite important. Here are a couple of tips on how to keep your little daredevils healthy and safe all summer long.
1. Water Safety
An ocean, lake or a pool — on whatever shore you decide to anchor your family for the summer, a bit of health and safety conversation can’t hurt. There are two major concerns you should talk to your children about in order to prevent any possible risks.
Unfortunately, drowning is still one the world’s leading causes of death, particularly when young children are concerned. If your kids are still too little to understand the dangers of going into the water alone or too mischievous to listen to your advice, be sure to always keep a watchful eye on them. Even if the swimming area is being supervised by a professional lifeguard, we can never be too responsible when it comes to the safety of our children.
However determined, never to let your kid out of your sight, be sure to arm them with water wings — vastly criticized for providing a false sense of security, the inflatable armbands will actually bring much-needed confidence to both you and your child, as long as they are used properly and the kid is not left unsupervised.
That being said, experts advise that, even though a kid won’t become a competent swimmer until the age of 6, it’s quite safe to start giving them lessons once they turn 4. While doing so, take some time to educate yourself as well, and learn CPR — on a beach full of children, you never know when such skills might become valuable.
Recreational Water Illnesses
The second thing you should be careful about are recreational water illnesses (RWIs), since, unfortunately, they could be found more or less everywhere. Over the past few years, the germs once easily eliminated with chlorine have been noticed to evolve and become more immune. If present in the water, they could enter the swimmer’s body through swallowing and wounds, but other types of contact are not excluded either.
For those with weakened immune systems, these types of infections, of which diarrhea is most common, can lead to serious consequences, even the life-threatening ones. These germs are most likely to develop in closed bodies of water such are pools, which is why consulting a pediatrician and taking kids to regular physicals is paramount if you want to determine how risky such an activity may be.
And, if gastrointestinal, ear, eye, respiratory or neurologic problems do appear, don’t try treating it on your own, but be quick to take you child to a specialist straight away.
2. Heat & Sun Protection
However breezy and cloudy, a summer day never comes without a couple of hidden dangers. Even if the beach sun seems mild enough for you, remember that your child’s skin is less susceptible to heat, which is the main culprit for both heat exhaustions and heat strokes, as well as sunburn.
Heat Exhaustion and Stroke
If you notice that your little one is sweating a bit too much, turning cold, pale and weak, you can probably expect nausea and vomiting in the next half an hour. Unlike stroke, heat exhaustion is only temporary and leaves no serious consequences, which doesn’t mean you shouldn’t act on it and immediately move to a cooler location, e.g. under a shade, give them water and apply wet cloths to their body.
In case their temperature rises above 103°F, do not give them any fluids, but call ambulance right away, since this is most likely a symptom of a heat stroke, which is a serious medical emergency.
Even the slightest sunburn in childhood can increase the risk of skin cancer once your kid grows up, so be sure to use sunscreen with at least 15 SPF, check for UVA and UVB protection and whether the lotion is water-proof or not. If your kid burns easily, dress them in plain white shirts even during the swimming time in order to protect them from UV rays.
To prevent both from happening, wisely choose the time of the day you’ll spend in the sun, and avoid any outdoor activities after morning and before late afternoon. Be careful to choose clothes for your children that are loose, lightweight and light-colored, and encourage them to drink a lot of water.
However careful a child is, cycling, skating and running frequently end up in injuries of different intensity — from a skinned knee to a concussion, these outdoor activities can be extremely injurious if a child is not properly protected. And, since most kids are not particularly keen on wearing knee and elbow protection, as well as a helmet, try taking them shopping and allow them to choose those that they like and would actually wear.
When traveling around with an adventurous kid, it’s always a good choice to take necessary precautions — research the nearest care clinic in the community you’re being accommodated in, and consult with your pediatrician about what medicines to include in your first aid kit. Knowing exactly where and how to treat certain kinds of injuries, as well as how to recognize them, will give you peace of mind and prove as more than helpful once the injury does happen.
4. Insect Bites
Zika, West Nile virus, and Lyme disease are only three of the most common diseases connected with insect bites. Besides being boring and irritating, certain types of mosquitos can actually make your child sick, which is why using an effective insect repellent will make both yours and your child’s summer much more relaxing.
Ticks, on the other hand, are a bit tougher to evade. Be sure to check your kid every time you return home from an area with a lot of vegetation, and learn how to remove ticks from the skin by yourself — it’s quite easy to do, and you won’t need much more than tweezers and a bit of alcohol.
Being prepared for all health-threatening situations never means hiding your little one under the glass bell. On the contrary — doing everything in our power to protect our kids from diseases and injuries is the only way of making their first summers as fun and exciting as they should be.