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Challenge: Summer Fun

Three Summer Safety Tips EVERY Parent Should Know!

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Sunshine, s’mores, water sports and lazy mornings. That’s summer for the Schaffers. With hundreds of activities at my kids’ disposal this summer, I’ve made it my mission to be prepared for the summer mishap before it happens. With the temperature on the rise and three out of four of my kids being so active, I’m ready to take on sunburns, bug bites and boo boos like nobody’s business.

Year after year, we look forward to a new set of summer adventures. With the kids constantly growing and evolving, so do their interests. But one thing remains. After San Diego’s June gloom, the sun is shining brighter than before, and with that comes their little sun dance, as they crave the outdoors, and the need to spend more time with Mother Earth. This year, it’s more beach time, more camping and more bike riding than ever before!

The more active they become, the more prepared Mom has to be. Common kid ailments during these warm months can have us parents scrambling at the time of the incident. I’m happy to share three important summer safety tips that I’ve learned that every parent should know – and preferably before your summer activities.

Sunscreen

My kids started swimming around three years old, and were water babies right from the start. When we are at the pool or on the beach, you can be sure they will stay in the water for hours. It's so important as a parent to understand the difference between UVA (ultraviolet A) and UVB (ultraviolet B) and why broad spectrum sunscreen is important.

In our lifetime, most of us are exposed to large amounts of UVA. It has been known to play a major part in aging & wrinkling skin. UVA also contributes to the development of skin cancers. UVA rays are most prevalent during daytime hours.

UVB is the chief cause of sunburn. It also plays another key role in the development of skin cancer. UVB rays can damage your skin all year round and is the strongest between 10 AM and 4 PM.

Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, this super cool mama doc from Seattle, mentioned in her video (see below) that if you can, at all times, cover up. Covering up is the best protection from the sun’s harmful rays. Bypass the chemicals on your kids’ skin by covering up! And when your family’s skin is exposed to the sun, the best thing you can use is a broad spectrum sunscreen.

Broad Spectrum Sunscreen protects your skin from both the UVA and UVB rays. When you look at the SPF (Sun Protective Factor), that number is only protecting you against the UVB rays, however with a broad spectrum sunscreen it’s protecting you and your littles against both UVA and UVB. It is recommended to use an SPF of at least 30 or above and apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before you venture out. According to Dr. Swanson, you should reapply every 1-2 hours if swimming. One brilliant tip for toddlers she shares in her video below is to apply sunscreen while still in their carseat. Worked like a charm for our family today.

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Bug Bites

With a love for s’mores and campouts, over the years, camping in our own back yard has become the summer norm for our tribe. Unfortunately, with any summer night comes those not-so-wanted insects. Of course long sleeves and pants help to protect the kids, but if you are using insect repellant, make sure you don’t put it directly on a child's face, eyes or nose. Dr. Swanson recommends an EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency) registered repellent. To be registered by EPA, these products must have safety and effectiveness data, which EPA evaluates before allowing them on the market. Insect repellents applied to the skin are often what we think of when we want to avoid insect bites, and you’ll want to apply to your hands first before applying it to the areas of your child you want to protect. An excellent resource for more information is the Know Your OTC's Website. Here, you can find the best advice and best practices for over-the-counter analgesics and what you should know as a parent if your child does get bit. Here’s a few more tips:

  • Don't mix insect repellent with sunscreen
  • Don't put it on under clothes
  • Don't use insect repellent on children under two months of age
  • Always read age restrictions on the bottles.
  • Know the difference between internal and external analgesics

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Cuts & Scrapes

My kids think they are participating in the X games every day, and the faster they’re going means the more fun they’re having. As expected, this high adrenaline lifestyle makes them even more prone to cuts and scrapes. Thus, I always keep an arsenal of band-aids and topical antibiotic ointment in my home, car and in the diaper bag.

Even my 9 month old is getting ready to embark on a new active lifestyle! Brody is ready to start crawling, and with baby on the move mommy will be kissing a lot of boo boos. After having four kids, staying calm and being prepared to take care of a wound is something I have learned time and again. According to Dr. Swanson, just running wound under water for 30 seconds is more than enough to clean it out. Pat it dry and put some antibiotic ointment on the wound for no more than one to three days. Cover it with a band-aid allowing a little air in it and you are good to go.

Have your traveling first aid kits handy so you, too, can be ready for the slips and falls that come with childhood. For more information on skin protectant medicines and how they work, click here.
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My children’s imaginations inspire me every day. Their creativity is constant, and watching them play together is not only a great source of entertainment, but I can see the love they have for one another, and that gives mom a sense of comfort. Their explorations still seem to come with incidents, however, making me somewhat of a nervous wreck at times. As much as I enjoy getting down to my little ones level and kissing boo boos, It can be somewhat a failed attempt to calm my injured little one. I’ve learned that remembering to take a deep breath and being prepared can help to ease what could be a chaotic situation. I feel more in control and can let my little ones take their explorations to much greater heights with the satisfaction of knowing I’m prepared for anything.

Being prepared for all the ailments that can come with summer is the best thing a mom can do. KnowyourOTCs.org has been an excellent resource for me, and has me equipped with everything I need to know this summer. Where are your kids’ explorations taking you? Comment below I would love to hear from you.

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