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Outdoor Safety


Be Smart About the Sun Sun exposure is one of the best sources of vitamin D, which helps our bodies absorb calcium and grow strong bones. However, a little sunlight goes a long way, and sun protection during the summer months is essential. With babies under six months of age,


avoiding sun exposure is always the best option. The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) and the AAP recommend placing babies in the shade, dressed in wide-brimmed hats, lightweight long pants and long-sleeved shirts. If shade and appropriate clothing are not an option, apply a small amount of sunscreen to the face and the backs of hands. Older children should also stay in the


shade when possible and limit their sun exposure during the peak hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Encourage kids to wear hats, sunglasses and clothing with a tight weave. Loose-weave clothing, such as sports jerseys, may increase skin exposure and sunburn risk.


Lather up with sunscreen on sunny and cloudy days. Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater that protects against UVA and UVB rays. This type of sunscreen is often marketed as “broad-spectrum.” Reapply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming and/or sweating. If your child is on any medication, double- check with your pharmacist or healthcare provider about the risk of sun exposure. Some medications may increase sun sensitivity. If your child gets a sunburn, offer a cool bath or cool compresses and apply aloe vera to sunburned areas to help with pain. If your child’s sunburn is severe or blisters develop, contact your provider.


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Beat the Heat As the temperature rises, babies are unable to regulate their body temperatures as adults do. Additionally, the inside of a car can reach dangerously high temperatures in the summer heat. Young children die from unintentionally being left in hot cars every summer. Remember to check that all kids are out of the backseat when you arrive at your final destination. Never leave a child in a car, even for a few minutes. For older children, the AAP suggests the following.


* Limit activities that last 15 minutes or longer if heat and humidity are at very


high levels. Encourage kids participating in outdoor activities to take a break every 20 minutes.


* Have kids wear lightweight and light- colored clothing. Limit clothing to one


layer with materials that encourage sweat evaporation. Replace sweat-saturated shirts with dry clothing.


* If children report feeling dizzy, lightheaded or nauseated, move to


cooler temperatures.


Stay Hydrated You may wonder if babies need to drink extra water in the summer heat. It’s important to remember that from birth to six months of age, babies get all of the water they need from breast milk or formula and don’t need extra water, even if it’s very hot outside.


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