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We’re heading into summer and, as a mom of little ones, I’m looking forward to the sunshine, warm weather, and family fun that lies ahead. But I’m also keenly aware of the summer dangers, especially for parents of young children, that can not only threaten those sunny days, but, in some cases, threaten your child’s life.
We’ve all heard the horror stories, seen the headlines, and I can’t help but think to myself, what if that were my child? When children are getting seriously injured or even dying from what seems like harmless “summer fun,” how can I find the balance between living in fear and dangerously permissive parenting?
Of course, I don’t want to bubble wrap my kids! I just want to insure we stay safe during our summer adventures. With that in mind, here are the top 5 summer dangers I’m staying mindful of this year.
With all the running around, climbing, jumping, cycling, and sliding activities that kids of all ages participate in during the summer months, head injuries are often inevitable. I want to make sure my kids wear helmets when riding scooters or bikes, and that any climbing or roughhousing is done over soft surfaces, like playground sand or cushioned flooring. I’m also planning on referencing the Mayo Clinic’s signs of concussion if my children ever have a nasty fall, especially nausea, vomiting, loss of consciousness, fatigue, delayed response to questions, and confusion.
This is every parent’s worst nightmare. My kids are really little so they can’t be in the pool alone at all. We keep a really close eye on them and stay within arm’s reach or closer when they are in any water, even the bath. But I’m also getting more familiar with the signs of secondary and dry drowning to make sure I am aware of the symptoms to watch for even if my child seems “fine.”
Dry drowning or secondary drowning can happen when kids breathe in some water, struggle while swimming or even when they sputter after getting water in their mouths. In dry drowning, water never reaches the lungs, but instead, the vocal chords spasm cutting off their airway long after they’ve left the pool or beach. With secondary drowning, water does reach the lungs causing pulmonary edema. Symptoms to watch for include coughing, chest pain, extreme fatigue, and trouble breathing. It’s important to seek immediate medical help.
It’s not their favorite but sunscreen is a must. I don’t want my kids to get overheated, suffer needless discomfort because of sunburn, or, worst-case scenario, develop skin conditions or even cancer later in life due to sun exposure. Even though I have olive skin, my three little ones do not, so I have to remember, as a mother of fair skinned babies to invest in lots of sunscreen, hats, and rash guards when the weather gets warm. Some of my friends’ favorites include Aveeno Baby Natural Protection Mineral Block Face Stick, Babyganics Mineral-Based Sunscreen, Honest Sunscreen, and Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream.
We still don’t know if my little ones have any drastic allergies, so I want to stay alert to any possible reactions to insect bites. Of course, beyond that, there are the dangers of poisons, viruses, even Lyme disease, contracted from insects. We don’t want to miss the fun or shy away from the great outdoors, so safe, effective insect repellants are a super important part of our summer survival kit. Several recommendations that I have come across are Cutter All Family Wipes, Avon Skin So Soft Towelettes, Natrapel Wipes, and Honest Company Bug Spray.
This one seems so simple but is so very important. I don’t know about you, but my little ones get busy and giggling and don’t want to stop playing for anything! Dehydration poses serious risks to their health and well-being, not to mention the increased possibility of temper tantrums from overheated, under-watered toddler twins. I keep bottled waters at the ready and build water breaks into playtime by handing them their sippy cups as a required stop before a new fun activity that I’m about to introduce (i.e. drink some water while mommy sets up this game). It totally works (most of the time)!
What about you? What do you do to guard against summer dangers while still encouraging childhood adventures?
Marie Osborne is a wife, mama, and blogger who loves Jesus & large non-fat lattes. You can find Marie on her blog encouraging, challenging, and laughing… under a pile of diapers.