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Tips to remember this summer

Summer has officially begun, which means more time is spent outdoors. Outdoor play is crucial for child development for gross and fine motor skills, as well as socialization. While playing outdoors is good for children (and adults), it can also be a potential for increased injuries. Here are a few tips for safe outdoor playtime.

• Helmets — Head injuries can be prevented by wearing a properly fitted helmet. Helmets should be used for all wheeled equipment, including bicycles, tricycles, and scooters. Helmets do not need to be worn with wheeled equipment that has a roof.

• Water play — For the safety of all children, strict water safety practices should be in place to include: touch supervision–supervising adults should be in arm’s length at all times, have lower children to adult ratios, learn/know CPR, have rescue equipment readily accessible, consider using hoses, sprinkles, and small buckets of water in place of pools. Refer to DHS regulations/guidelines for rules and regulations regarding home pools. Wading pools are not recommended due to the drowning risk, as well as being a breeding ground for communicable diseases such as cryptosporidiosis. Cryptosporidiosis is characterized by profuse, watery diarrhea and cramping abdominal pain. Children with diarrhea must be excluded from care.

• Sun safety — Keep infants younger than six months out of direct sunlight. Find shade under a tree, umbrella, or stroller canopy. Wear a hat or cap with a brim that faces forward to shield the face. Limit sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are strongest. Wear child safe shatter resistant sunglasses with at least 99 percent UV protection. Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher for children 6 months of age and older. Protective clothing should be worn by infants younger than 6 months of age. Parent/guardian written permission is required for over-the-counter sunscreen to be applied while at child care. Sunscreen needs to be applied every two hours. It is recommended that parents or guardians apply the brand of sunscreen at least one time to observe for potential adverse reactions before it is brought to child care.

• Hydrate — Children playing outdoors are going to sweat profusely. Teach them about the dangers of dehydration and the importance of replenishing with water — not sugary drinks.

Wishing you all a fun and safe summer.

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Carrie Kube is a director for the Iowa River Valley Early Childhood Area Board.

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