Summer Safety Checklist to Keep Your Children Healthy

Refillable water bottles. Children should drink 12 ounces of cool water or a sports drink before they head out to play. And they should take water breaks during games. If your children go to camp or play on a team, make sure they refill their water bottle several times a day.

First aid kit. Keep a first aid kit in your home, in your car, and bring one with you on vacation. Keep first aid kits someplace where you can reach them, but the children can’t.

Sun protection. Get wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and cotton clothes that cover your child’s skin to reduce exposure to the sun’s damaging rays.

Sunscreen. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least 30 SPF every day for kids older than 6 months. (It's best to keep babies out of the sun). Reapply after swimming, sweating, or after more than 2 hours in the sun.

Helmet. Before your children ride away on a bike, scooter, or other set of wheels, make sure they're wearing a well-fitting helmet.

Protective sports gear. If your children play team sports, make sure they have appropriate gear. Depending on the sport, this may include a mouth guard, face mask, helmet, pads, and shoes made specifically for the surface your child will play on.

Safety plan. Before your children head out to play, agree on a safety plan that includes how they can reach you and what to do in an emergency.

Bug spray. If ticks or mosquitoes are common in your area, apply repellent with DEET, but go for the lowest concentration possible. Repellent with 10% DEET is effective for about 2 hours, while 30% DEET works for about 5 hours.

Poison ivy protection. Poison ivy soap can break down proteins that make poison ivy or poison oak so irritating. Also, keep calamine lotion on hand to use on skin that breaks out in an itchy rash.

Antihistamine. Summer grass, weeds, and flowers may trigger summer allergies. An over-the-counter antihistamine can ease your child's scratchy throat and runny nose if allergies are a problem.

Car safety. To minimize the risk of a child getting trapped in a hot vehicle, leave a purse, briefcase, or cell phone in the back seat. That way, you get in the habit of checking in the back seat before leaving the vehicle. Ask your child's daycare to call you if the child doesn’t show up as expected. Always lock your car and trunk, even parked in the driveway at home, and always keep keys and fobs out of the reach of little ones.

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