MAKE HELMETS NON-NEGOTIABLE
A protective helmet is needed when using bikes, scooters, skateboards and roller skates. “Helmets are mandatory for kids younger than 17,” says Joann Alfonzo, MD, special needs primary care pediatrician at Children’s Specialized Hospital in Hamilton. “Even if your child is only in the driveway, a helmet should be worn.”
PRACTICE WATER SAFETY
Never leave kids unattended near a swimming pool or hot tub. If you have a backyard pool or spa, it should have a fence at least four feet high—or if the house is the fourth “wall,” an alarm should go off when the back door is opened, says Alfonzo.
WEAR LIFE VESTS
When boating, kids should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket, not a floatie. A vest should fit snugly so that it doesn’t ride up over your child’s face when you pull up on the shoulders.
SLATHER ON THE SUNSCREEN
Kids older than six months should wear sunscreen every day. Make sure it’s SPF 30 or higher, and apply it every two hours, even if it’s water-resistant, says Alfonzo.
DON’T FORGET BUG SPRAY
Use insect repellent that contains 20 to 30 percent DEET. Put sunscreen on first, then apply repellent. Skip combination products because you need to reapply sunscreen more often. Do a full body tick check once you’re back indoors.
KEEP KIDS HYDRATED
Make sure kids drink water before, during and after sports and play—that’s at least three times an hour, says Alfonzo. Consider an electrolyte beverage if they’re doing vigorous exercise.
LET THEM BE KIDS THIS SUMMER
After the year we’ve endured, kids need to get outside and socialize for the sake of their mental health. Day or overnight camp is the perfect place for that. “Kids’ mental health and social development is just as important as their physical health,” says Alfonzo. “Camp helps them reestablish these connections.”