Summer Safety for you and your family

It’s well known that where it comes to accidents, prevention is much better that the cure!!! So we’ve put together some summer safety tips for dealing with a few common holiday hazards.

 

Bites and Stings

Planning to spend time outside means planning to spray yourself and your children with insect repellent — repellents don’t kill insects, but they can help reduce bites from mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and other bothersome bugs. There are different types of repellents: those that contain DEET and those that don’t. DEET (medical name N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) is a slightly yellow oil and is the most common active ingredient in insect repellents

 

Use insect repellents containing DEET on children sparingly. Never use repellent on infants and check the levels of DEET in formulas before applying to older kids — DEET can be toxic. Repellents with 10 to 30 percent concentrations of DEET can be used on exposed skin, clothing, and shoes but do not apply it to faces or hands. If you want to avoid DEET, experts recommend repellents that contain Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus; both are non-toxic and able to reduce mosquito bites just as well as formulas with low levels of DEET.

 

Being stung is very painful especially for a child. If it is a Bee that has stung someone remember that they leave their sting in the wound. DO NOT try to remove it with your nails or tweezers as you may push it further in or inject more of the toxin into the wound. Use something with an edge (ideally a bank card, Club card etc) and swipe it over the wound. This should knock the sting out easily. Apply a cold compress to the swollen area and contact 999 / 112 if the swelling increases or they have difficulty breathing. There are a number of different sprays and creams you can buy to help heal and ease the pain of a sting, but make sure you know what they contain before applying them

 

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Wearing light-coloured clothing can help reduce the chance of bug bites and bee stings!!!!

 

Heat Related Illness

Staying hydrated in hot weather can help reduce the risk of heat-related illness. Keep water or sports drinks (with electrolytes) on hand to maintain hydration, and try to stay in a shady or air-conditioned location during the hottest parts of the afternoon.

 

Mild symptoms of heat exhaustion may include feeling thirsty, fatigue and cramps (legs or abdominal). If left untreated, heat exhaustion can progress to heatstroke.

 

Heatstroke is serious. Symptoms may include any of the following: dizziness, trouble breathing, headaches, rapid heartbeat, nausea, vomiting, confusion and changes in blood pressure. Skin may be flushed and feel hot and dry (not sweaty). Body temperature may rise to 104 degrees F or higher, and as it becomes more severe, the risk of organ damage (to the liver, kidneys and brain) increases.

 

Children are more susceptible to heat illnesses than adults are because their central nervous system is not yet fully developed. Strenuous activity and dehydration make it difficult for young bodies to regulate changes in body

 

Dehydration

Did you know that if you’re feeling thirsty, you’re already mildly dehydrated? Relying on thirst as a reminder to take a drink leaves you at risk of dehydration. The following signs and symptoms can indicate dehydration:

  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Cessation of sweating
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Fatigue
  • Dark yellow urine
  • Anuria (lack of urine) for 12 hours (or 6 hours for infants)
  • Tearless crying
  • Sunken eyes

Help avoid becoming dehydrated by reminding everybody to drink often throughout the day. Specialists would recommend drinking about every 20 minutes or at least 2 liters of water a day, more if you and the family are being active.

 

Sunburn

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, getting one blister from sunburn when you’re a child doubles your chances of developing skin cancer. Regardless of age and skin type (whether or not you burn easily), it is recommended that everyone, adults and children alike, apply a water-resistant sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays every day of the year. Yes, even in winter and on cloudy days. Choose a sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 and apply it 15 to 30 minutes before going outside. When using sunscreen, apply as much as would fill a shot glass — and if you’re using both sunscreen and insect repellent, apply sunscreen first and then repellent.

 

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Sunscreen should be applied every two hours and after swimming or vigorous activity (anything that causes you to sweat a lot).

 

Playground safety

 

Check the playground equipment before letting your children play on it. For example, surfaces that are too hot can cause burns, and loose ropes — ropes that aren’t secured on both ends — can cause accidental strangulation or friction burns. The ground should be covered in a protective surface such as rubber mats, wood or rubber mulch or wood chips, never grass, asphalt or concrete. The right surface materials could reduce the risk of a head injury or other severe injury in the event of a fall.

 

Also, be sure that your child’s clothing is playground-friendly: Remove any strings, such as those on hoodies, only let them wear closed-toed shoes at play and avoid clothing that is loose enough to catch on equipment.

 

Bike Safety

Whether or not you wore a helmet while riding your bike as a child, it’s a must for children these days. Wearing a helmet can help reduce your child’s risk of taking a trip to A&E!!! Keeping children safe on their bikes also means sending them out on bikes that fit. Checking that your child hasn’t outgrown last year’s bike is easy: Have your child straddle the top bar of his or her bike with both feet flat on the ground. A 1 to 3-inch gap between the bar and your child’s body means it’s still the correct size.

 

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Road safety…..Teach children about the dangers of riding on the road,  to always ride in the same direction as the traffic flow, and to obey all traffic signs.

 

Food poisoning

Summertime offers so many gorgeous days for picnics and BBQ’s. But don’t let the heat ruin your outing — food-borne illnesses are caused by bacteria (such as E.coli, Salmonella, Clostridium botulinum, Listeria, Campylobacter and Clostridium perfringens), viruses (such as Norwalk virus), parasites and other toxins.

 

Food-borne illness looks a lot like the flu, and typically includes nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea. Symptoms can range from mild gastrointestinal discomfort to bloody stools. One of the best ways to avoid food poisoning during the summertime is to be sure food items that contain mayonnaise, milk, eggs, meat, poultry and seafood aren’t kept at room temperature for more than an hour or two. And remember, meat and eggs aren’t the only culprits; raw fruits and vegetables can cause problems if not properly washed and stored. If you’re traveling with food, be sure to pack any raw meat separately from ready-to-eat foods to avoid contamination.

 

Pool Safety

Whether it be swimming pools, ponds or the sea, water fascinates children. Accidental drowning causes more than 400 UK deaths every year, is the 3rd highest cause of death in children and claims the lives of at least 360,000 people worldwide each year. June hosted Drowning Prevention Week, one of the biggest events to help keep people safe around water. We wrote a great blog informing you how to keep your family safe in and around water and to make you aware of some of the hidden truths about drowning. You can read our blog, Secondary Drowning, what all Parents should know here.

 

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Wearing a personal flotation device can save your life. There are specific regulations for life jackets, for adults and children. Be sure it has a snug fit — snug enough to stop a children’s ears or chin from slipping through.

 

If you would like to be more prepared for the summer holidays, why not have a look at our Parents First Aid courses. Informal, friendly sessions run in the comfort of your own home (or as part of a group) to increase confidence and knowledge so you can deal with any emergency situation.

 
For even more information and ideas on summer safety, have a look at the NHS website: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Summerhealth/Pages/Childsafety.aspx

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