As we enter the summer season, Ottawa pediatrician Dr. Paul Roumeliotis put together some facts, tips and advice on various summer health and safety concerns. You’ll want to read these over before taking to the sun, water and other summer pleasures with your family.
Swimming and Water Safety
- Never leave children alone in or near the pool, or beach, even for a second.
- When boating or canoeing, every passenger should always wear a life jacket, even if they are good swimmers.
- Be aware of other water hazards near or in your home, including ditches, post holes, wells, fish ponds and fountains, pails, bath tubs and toilets.
- Never swim around anchored boats in motor boat lanes or where people are water skiing.
- When buying a life jacket, make sure it is the right size. Floaties are not approved life jackets.
- Do not dive in shallow areas of lakes, ponds, beaches, streams or pools where the depth of the water is not known. Also, do not dive into above-ground pools.
- The pool or hot tub should have a four-sided fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate.
Coping with Hot Weather and High Humidity
Here are some other tips to help you keep your family cool and safe during the hot summer months:
- Dress young children and babies very lightly.
- Stay indoors during the hottest time of the day (usually mid-morning to mid-afternoon).
- Air conditioners, if available, help, even for young babies.
- If there is no air conditioner, try to stay at the lowest level of the house as it tends to be cooler and keep your home as shaded as possible by closing window blinds and curtains. A fan will help as well.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Water is good. It is important to know that children may not feel thirsty but will still need to drink regularly. Avoid caffeine-containing beverages.
- Make sure that young children are far enough away from the broiler to prevent a burn injury.
- Keep all barbecue accessories, including charcoal, lighter fluid and propane gas tanks, well out of the reach of children at all times.
- When camping, pitch your tent in a safe appropriate area, not on a hillside or too close to a lake or water.
- When building a campfire, make sure it is well away from your tent and pour water on it to make sure it is out before going to sleep.
- Bring a first aid kit when you go camping. The kit should include: medicated (antibiotic) ointment, antihistamine syrup, calamine lotion, fever/pain medicine (acetaminophen), insect repellent and bandages.
- When riding any vehicle on wheels, do not wear headphones attached to portable/mobile devices or players.
- While riding a bike, government-approved and well-fitted bicycle helmets must always be worn.
- Helmets designed for skateboarding can protect a skateboarder from serious injury, but only if worn during skateboarding. If your child skateboards, rollerblades or rides a scooter, he or she should always wear a helmet.
Have a fun and safe summer!