Summer Time Recommendations
With the onset of Spring and lighter days, I would hope that you and your children are spending more time outdoors. With this in mind, I thought I would share a few recommendations for safe summer activities
It is recommended to use sunscreen on all people older than 6 months. For babies younger than this, I usually suggest using light clothing to cover sun-exposed areas. Hats are especially important as well in this age group. In babies older than 6 months, I recommend not putting it on their hands, since they often put their hands in their mouths. In choosing a sunscreen, be sure it is listed as at least SPF (Sun-protection factor) 15, but I prefer SPF-30. Super-high SPF above these levels has not been shown to be any more effective, but if you feel better using these products, there is no harm. The best time to apply sunscreen is 15-30 minutes before going out in the sun, so that it can be absorbed into the skin. It is best to rub the sunscreen into the skin well. This is especially important with spray-on sunscreens. Finally, remember to reapply every 2 hours if you will continue to be in the sun, especially if you will be swimming.
Bug spray can be used in adults and any child older than 2 months of age. As with sunscreen, covering an infant with clothing is the best way to protect them until they are old enough for bug spray. I avoid putting it on the hands of babies, as they often put these in their mouths. The most effective repellents contain a product called DEET, but there are several alternatives (i.e., Picardin, Citronella, Eucalyptus, and others). Products with DEET often contain varying concentrations, and the higher the concentration, the longer it lasts. However, this tops out at 30% DEET concentration and levels higher than that do not provide more protection. The AAP recommends against using any product with more than 30% DEET in children.
Summer is a wonderful time to get out and exercise. Many of the things children use during the summer have wheels (such as bicycles, scooters, roller-skates or rollerblades, skateboards). It is very easy to travel quite fast with these devices, and falls are quite common. I strongly encourage the use of helmets for all these activities. Elbow and knee pads are also a good idea. Injuries can be quite common and these offer protection to lessen the severity of the injury. Please make sure your children have and use these.