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Johns Hopkins Medicine Suburban - Summertime, Summertime, Sum…Sum… Summertime

New Directions Summer 2012

Summertime, Summertime, Sum…Sum… Summertime

Date: June 1, 2012

George Korengold and Marla Roche
George Korengold, MD Bethesda Pediatrics Potomac and Marla Roche, DO Capital Medical Group Chevy Chase

As parents prepare their children for weeks of summer fun, it never hurts to review tips to help keep children safe, healthy and enjoying their summertime adventures.  

We asked two area pediatricians for their Top 10 list of summer safety tips.

1. To avoid sunburn and future skin damage, apply sunblock with a SPF of at least 15 one half hour before going outside and reapply every 2 hours — even on cloudy days. Cover as much of the skin as possible with lightweight and light color clothing and find kids a hat they will wear.

Dr. Korengold adds, “Your eyes can suffer sun damage, too. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents encourage kids to wear sunglasses.”

2. Hydration is key. Encourage children to drink water before they leave the house and to carry a water bottle. Check that camps offer water at least every hour and more often during rigorous activity.

3. Both doctors advise a daily check of your child’s body for ticks that can carry Lyme Disease. If you find one, try to remove it. Call your pediatrician immediately if the tick appears engorged or if a rash or fever or other signs of illness appear.

4. Bites and stings. To avoid insect bites, Dr. Korengold says use a repellent with DEET, safe for children 2 months of age and older. Children with allergies may have severe reactions to stings. Your pediatrician might recommend shots to decrease your child’s sensitivity or suggest sending a special auto-injection kit containing epinephrine (adrenaline) or “epi pen” to be used in the event of a severe reaction.

5. Dr. Roche calls pools and playgrounds “injury magnets.” Double check there is an appropriate ratio of counselors and lifeguards to children. Be sure playground equipment is not rusted or broken and is age appropriate.

6. From head to toe, kids need the proper gear: helmets for skateboarding, rollerblading, rock climbing and biking and proper footwear to avoid injuries to the feet and toes.

7. Bicycle accidents can result in serious injuries, including cuts and broken bones. Besides wearing a helmet, children need to know bike etiquette and traffic signals when they share the road with motor vehicles.

8. Sleep-away camps are very good about requiring kids to have physicals and current vaccinations. Parents should make sure their children 11-12 are current with meningitis and Tdap vaccines. The first protects against severe strains of meningococcal bacteria, which can cause meningitis. Tdap combines protection against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. Dr. Roche adds….For daughters who are approaching puberty, send a “just in case” kit of feminine hygiene products.

9. Be aware that in summer, teens tend to increase risk-taking behaviors, leading to more visits to the emergency room for accidents related to alcohol consumption and motor vehicle accidents. Now is a good time to lay the ground rules for a safe and healthy summer!

10. Adults should follow most of these tips too!