by Judy Mullican
When the summer sun is shining, your little ones will be anxious to be outside. Spending time outdoors offers young children a chance to explore nature firsthand, exercise large muscles, and get plenty of Vitamin D from the sun. Just remember a few simple precautions to make sure the children stay safe:
- Sun Protection Sunburns are no fun and can set the stage for skin cancer later in life. If you provide child care, work with families in selecting sunscreen so they can let you know about any allergies or sensitivities. You may want to provide sunscreen that is fragrance-free and safe for sensitive skin or ask each family to provide sunscreen that is safe for their child. Keep in mind that sunscreen needs to protect children’s skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Check to see that the SPF is at least 30. Apply it generously about 15 to 30 minutes before going outside. Sunscreen should always be reapplied after water play. Sunhats and sunglasses can provide additional protection.
- Drink Water Children’s bodies are small and they can become dehydrated more easily than adults. Infants should be able to get enough fluid from nursing or formula. Take along water and cups when you go outside and offer water regularly to children who are over a year old. If you have a child who just doesn’t enjoy plain water, you can flavor it with a little unsweetened juice.
- Supervision Children learn by exploring the world with their senses, but they may not always be able to distinguish what is and is not safe. A pretty flower or a toadstool may look like a tasty treat. The street may look like a great place to play. It’s up to adults to keep little ones safe. Remove hazards from the area when possible and keep a close eye on the children to be sure they explore safely.
Visit these sites to find more recommendations from the CDC: