*all tips shared in this post is from a mom nurse and NOT medical advice, please consult a licensed medical physician for any decisions*
When I shared last week’s blog post you guys went absolutely crazy asking for more nurse life topics. Many asked for parenting tips/ kid tips to make life easier. As we know education is a form of self care and honestly such an easy way to help your mental health as a parent. So today’s post I am going to deliver exactly what you want and help educate the average parent on summer safety tips.
Now when I say “average parent”, please don’t take into offense thinking I meant a parent who performs averagely or mediocre. The term, in this case, simply means a parent with no prior medical background or experience.
Also, we are obviously well into summer and while somethings might be a little too late, I’m sure other things will be right on time.
The Need for Summer Safety
As a parent, when summer rolls around, in addition to every parent hoping to have their children out of the house, they are hoping to keep them safe. However, one of the most difficult things about summer safety for the average parent, is that you are completely unsure on how and what to exactly protect them from.
I mean even the average parent who feels knowledgeable on summer safety knows about things like bug bites or minor scrapes and cuts, but what about the other things?
One of the leading causes of summer deaths in kids is drowning, not at the community pool, but their home one.
Hey average parent, did you know that?
*again, term of endearment here*
I say this to say, sometimes it’s hard to even know where to start with summer safety.
Summer Safety Tips
So without dragging this on longer, here’s 10 summer safety tips for the average parent to be aware of this summer:
- Pool Safety. Since we started talking about this already let’s keep it going. As stated earlier backyard pool drownings are one of the biggest summer safety risks. Keep your child safe by always keeping the gate or pool covering on your pool at all times. If you have a pool, it’d be in your best interest to have your child learn basic swim techniques (like floating) that could potentially later save their life. And NEVER let your child be in or near the pool unattended, even for a second. This tip is also not just for babies or small children. I won’t even mention the horror story I heard the other say in the ER about a 18 year old that couldn’t swim.
- Heat Exhaustion. As an ED nurse I would argue this and asthma are two of our biggest summer complaints. Before heat strokes (which is another summer biggie) there are little signs that can show your child is in danger of being overheated. These signs are described as heat exhaustion. Or as mayo clinic defines it, “a condition whose symptoms may include heavy sweating and rapid pulse, a result of your body overheating.” Things to look out for: heavy sweating, faintness, weak pulse, nausea, headache. All these signal your child’s body is having difficulty cooking itself down. Now, as you can imagine some of these signs are fatal (aka closer to heat stroke) and others are warning signs. Things such as flushed skin, heavy sweating are signs it is time to go indoors and out the heat for a little. Lightweight clothing and water can help prevent this. This brings me to my next point.
- Drink Water. I am absolutely sure the average parent with kids knows this summer safety tip, however I still want to say it. In the summer this is the number one most important thing to have on hand. Water in the car, on the bike riding, on the walk, even sitting in the house! Intake of water can help decrease some of the things discussed before regarding heat exhaustion.
- Bike Safety. Another fun summer activity. Riding bikes is the easiest way for the average parent to get their kid out of the house. But first, make sure they are equipped with some safety tips. Teach your kid about street safety while riding. Looking out for cars, other kids or individuals is a great place to start. Another tip, helmets are a must for children when riding a bike. Again, we get to the next point.
- Head Injuries. Head injuries are an ED room favorite. Children frequently present post falls with head injuries. Things to look out for: increased sleepiness, inability/ difficult to arouse or wake up, loss of consciousness, and vomiting are major signs to look for. These signs mean you need to head to your closest ER right away.
- Fireworks. Working on the 4th of July is one of my least favorite things to do. It feels like we hold our breath and wait for a firework injury to come in. Here’s some quick tips: never relight a firework that didn’t work the first time, these are NOT intended for young kids, keep a water bucket nearby to place hands in in case of an emergency. And most importantly don’t buy from anyone that’s not a professional. That’s a recipe for disaster.
- Sun Protection. This is a pretty easy one but still easy to forget. Sunscreen of at least spf30+ is necessary whenever your children go outside in summer months to prevent sunburn or worse. Although they had a huge issue lately, babyganics is one of our favorite products to use on Tate.
- Bug Bites/ Bee Bites. Another easy one. Protect your kids. Stay away from bees and they stay away from you. Put on bug spray to prevent bites. Again, we use babyganics, but do your research on what’s best for your family. Some kids are highly allergic to certain bites, any signs of difficulty breathing, throat swelling, or excessive drooling report straight to your local ED.
- Poisonous Plants. Very easy to forget but also a huge summer safety tip especially since kids are likely to take field trips, play in the grass, etc. If you notice any irritation on your child’s skin after outside play, immediately rinse the area thoroughly with water. Keep an eye on it for inflammation, swelling and also for risk of spreading to other areas of the body. Any signs of anaphylaxis or difficulty breathing again report to the ED.
- Food Poisoning. Though this sounds elementary I believe this is another tip the average parent forgets. In the hot summer months leaving food out for the kids to munch on is a no no. Unless it is things like chips and water, no food should be left out and then consumed for extended periods of time. If you notice your child may have things like food poisoning, in some cases this could be managed at home with hydration and diet modifications. If vomiting/ diarrhea persists over 24 hours you may need to see a physician. As always, consult your doctor or nurse hotline for the perfect plan of action.
Summer Safety Tools
Here’s some easy things to always have on hand:
- band aids
- antibiotic ointment (Neosporin)
- rag (for water/ wiping down kid purposes)
- candy/ nutrition bar
- Benadryl, Tylenol
- cell phone
Summer safety is a daunting task for many parents. It’s hard to remember every single thing. And also, kids aren’t always the easiest in terms of getting them to comply with “summer safety rules”. The best way to survive these hot summer months safely is to stay prepared. Take care of those kids!
And take care of you too mama,