Now that many places are starting to open up and the summer weather has arrived, families are eager to spend more time outdoors. Outdoor activities can be a lot of fun and offer added benefits like exercise, improving our moods and a natural way for our bodies to receive vitamin D. Whether you’re playing in the backyard or headed to a park, pool or lake, there are some simple precautions parents can take to keep everyone safe.
Prior to engaging in outdoor activities, it is important to protect your family from the harmful sun rays. Follow these steps to keep your family safe from the sun:
- Limit sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The ultraviolet rays are most intense during this time frame.
- For babies under 6 months, avoid direct sun exposure and dress the infant in lightweight clothing and a brimmed hat that covers their neck to prevent sunburn. If shade and adequate clothing are not available, apply a minimal amount of 15 SPF or greater sunscreen.
- Have children wear a three-inch brimmed hat or a hat with the bill facing forward.
- Provide sunglasses with 97-100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Use a sunscreen of SPF 15 or greater. Be sure to apply the sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside.
- Apply sunscreen every two hours and reapply after swimming and sweating.
Summer time also brings an abundance of mosquitoes and other insects. To help minimize bites, review the following safety tips:
- Avoid using scented products like soaps, perfumes or lotions.
- Avoid dressing in clothing with bright colors or flowered prints.
- Use insect repellents containing DEET when needed. The current AAP recommendation for children older than 2 months of age is to use 10% -30% DEET and not to use insect repellent on children under 2 months old.
- When walking in the woods or high grasses, wear hats to protect against ticks. Remember to check hair and skin for ticks when finished.
- Remove a visible stinger from the skin, by gently scraping it with a credit card or your fingernail.
When having fun in the sun, remember to have plenty of water available to stay cool and hydrated. Consider bringing fruits or vegetables as snacks and as another source of water.