Health News You Can Use

Safe Fun in the Sun

Fun and summer are pretty much synonymous, especially for kids after all those long, grueling school days.

And far be it from us – your health professional friends at CHI Mercy Health – to put a damper on any summer fun. But we wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t at least send some summer safety tips for kids your way along with our wishes for an awesome summer break.

Here Comes the Sunscreen

Take however many times you’ve heard about the importance of protecting your kids (and yourself) from the sun and add one more to it. Because we can’t say it enough.

Sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 should be applied at least 30 minutes before going – or sending kids — outdoors, even on cloudy days (when up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays can still reach your skin). Reapply it every two hours (more frequently after swimming or sweating).

Also, have your kids add a hat and sunglasses before they head outside. Look for sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UV (UVA and UVB) rays and you don’t have to spend a lot of money. We know. Kids lose things.  You’ll be happy to know that studies show that inexpensive sunglasses labeled for UVA rays are still effective.

Fend Off the Bugs

Bugs can be more than just an annoying trade off for summer fun; some, like bees and disease-carrying mosquitoes, can be harmful. Use insect repellant (with 30 percent DEET concentrations) to ward off mosquitoes, which can carry viruses, like West Nile, and ticks, which can carry Lyme disease.

Drink Up

Water, that is. Prevent dehydration by having your kids’ take frequent water breaks. Have everyone pack a refillable water bottle for on the go, so you always have H20 handy.

Swim Safely in the Pool, River and Lake 

Accidental drowning claims more than 800 children under 15 each year and injures another 3,600. Steps you can take to safeguard swimming children include: putting barriers around pools to restrict access; never leaving kids unsupervised; not using flotation devices that can give non-swimmers a false sense of security; and learning CPR. Both the YMCA and UCC offer swimming lessons for all levels.

Mind Your Grill

Keep your grill away from high-foot-traffic and heavy-play areas and declare a three-foot kid- and pet-free zone around it.

Be Safe and Have Fun

We know you may have heard some, if not all, of this before. But nothing is more precious than the safety of your kids, so we know you’ll forgive us if we sound a little like Aunt Martha. Now get them outside (sunscreen, hat, bug repellant, water and all) and have some fun!