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Health Tips for Parents

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2009 Issues

What are some safety tips for summer?

06/01/2009

Summer is just around the corner and children are ready for playing outdoors at camp, on vacations or at home. A UCLA emergency department physician and pediatrician provide some tips on how to make your child’s summer days safe as well as fun.

Umbrella SkySkin protection Sunburns are not only painful, but dangerous. “The skin controls the body temperature, and when it has suffered a burn, it can not do its job well,” notes Dr. Wally Ghurabi, medical director of the UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica Emergency Department.

Lightweight clothing that covers arms and legs and a brimmed hat can provide sun protection, but don’t forget the sunscreen. Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, and re-apply every two hours if children are in water. Choose a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays, suggests Dr. Carlos Lerner, pediatrician at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. To avoid possible skin allergy, avoid sunscreens with PABA, and if your child has sensitive skin, look for a product with the active ingredient titanium dioxide (a chemical-free block).

Boy, sun glassesDrink up During the hot months, it’s important to drink enough to restore hydration, Dr. Lerner notes. In most cases, water is the best choice. Make water readily available, and remind your children to drink frequently.

“Dehydration can quickly lead to cramps and heat exhaustion,” Dr. Ghurabi adds. Severe dehydration can lead to heat stroke, a dangerous condition.

Bugs and bees Dr. Lerner suggests that children with bee-sting allergies wear light-colored clothing and avoid scented beauty products. If stung, remove the stinger by sweeping it out in a horizontal motion with a fingernail or credit card.

“Squeezing the stinger worsens the reaction,” Dr. Ghurabi notes. Watch the insect or bee sting carefully. If it begins to look red hot, a doctor may need to prescribe an antibiotic. Severe allergic reactions require immediate medical attention.

Unprotected sun exposure is even more dangerous for kids with:

  • moles on their skin (or whose parents have a tendency to develop moles)
  • very fair skin and hair
  • a family history of skin cancer, including melanoma 

Water Safety

Swimmers entrance Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death in children under age 14 years. Every pool should be fenced properly (a sturdy five-foot fence on all four sides). Make sure gates self-close and self-latch at a height children cannot reach. Never leave a child unsupervised by water or under the care of another child.

 

This information is provided courtesy of the pediatricians at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. UCLA Health pediatricians are conveniently located in your neighborhood. In addition to our Children’s Health Center in Westwood, we have offices in Brentwood, Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica and West Los Angeles. All health and health-related information contained in this publication is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for a visit with a healthcare professional.





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