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Watch Out!
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As parents we become concerned for our children’s health during the cold and flu season. But now that summer is here, we still need to be concerned. Here are some possible outdoor problems to watch out for:

Watch out for sunburns: Put sunscreen on your child--always. An SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 30 is vital to help prevent skin cancer later in life. Reapply every two hours, especially if they’re playing in the water.

Watch out for dehydration: Drinking water while playing outdoors is important, and they may get so busy playing that they forget. Make it fun by setting a timer for drinking and buying them a water bottle they’ve picked out. For family hikes, a camelback (a bladder of water worn on the back like a backpack) is helpful.

Watch out for overheating: Your kids can be having so much fun that they may not realize their bodies are overheating. Even a child can have a heat stroke. So in addition to keeping them hydrated, have them take breaks from play in the sun to relax in the shade of a tree or indoors. 

Watch out for bee stings and mosquito bites: Avoiding perfumed bath soaps and having your child wear light-colored clothing will help deter bees. Long-sleeved shirts and pants are best to wear in the evening to discourage mosquitoes. There are also repellants that are family friendly.

Watch out for ticks: To help avoid ticks when your child is hiking or playing around tall grass or bushes, have them wear a long-sleeve shirt, pants, socks and shoes. Also, certain mosquito repellants discourage ticks. Besides checking your child’s hair, do a full body check on younger children and have your older kids check themselves with a mirror. Ticks can hide anywhere, and are known to spread disease.

Watch out for poison ivy and poison oak: Know what each of these plants look like and make sure your child can recognize them, too. Once again, pants, long-sleeved shirts, shoes and socks are the best protection.

Watch out for cuts and scrapes: With the bike riding, long-boarding, running barefoot and exploring, your child is bound to get a few minor injuries. Make sure you wash all cuts and scrapes, and if necessary cover with antibiotic ointment and a bandage. Be sure your child is up to date with his or her tetanus booster.

If your child does happen to encounter any of the above, and his or her symptoms seem unusual or get worse, seek medical help right away. It doesn’t pay to delay.

Although there are quite a few things to “watch out" for when it comes to taking care of your kids this summer, don’t let it stop you from enjoying the outdoors. Summer is a time for exploring, going on adventures and building family memories. Just be prepared with knowledge, a first aid kit, and some TLC if needed—and have fun!

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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