Thirty-seven children die each year of heat-related deaths after being trapped inside vehicles. It can happen to anyone. TIPS: Have your daycare call you if your child doesn’t arrive. Leave one of your shoes in the back seat.
Babies are particularly vulnerable to heatstroke. Their bodies still have difficulty regulating temperature. Signs of heat-stroke include; hot but not sweating, hot red dry skin, rapid pulse, restlessness, confusion, dizziness, vomiting, rapid shallow breathing, lethargy. TREATMENT: Move to a cool area immediately (shade or indoors). Remove clothing and wipe you baby with a damp cloth while fanning them. May consider cool bath to bring the temperature down. Go to doctor or emergency room if not improving.
Covering your stroller with a blanket can cause poor air circulation, increased temperatures, and difficulty seeing the status of your child. TIPS: Consider carrying a parasol or umbrella to block the sun. Look for strollers that have large canopies and incorporate netted material to allow air to flow.
Stagnant, or standing water, is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, host to all manner of pathogens, bacteria, protozoa, and helminth (parasitic worms), and can often be contaminated with chemical and biological toxins. TIPS: Educate your children about microbial life with a microscope and water samples.
Mosquitoes carry West Nile, Zika virus, Chikungunya virus, parasites, and more. In other parts of the world Dengue and Malaria are common. Pregnant women and their sexual partners should avoid areas where Zika is spreading.
Insect repellent is the best way to avoid mosquito bites. DEET was developed by the U.S. Army in 1946 and is still effective. The CDC recommends 10%-30% DEET for children older than 2 months of age. The effectiveness is similar but higher DEET lasts longer (10% = 2 hours, 30% = 5 hours). Although, the EPA and CDC endorse DEET as safe scientists have recently suggested the DEET may be linked to seizures and neurological damage in a laboratory environment.
Oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol (PMD), is a natural alternative. Important to note that oil of lemon eucalyptus (PMD) is a highly refined and intensified product that is far more concentrated than the natural oil from the same plant. Oil of lemon eucalyptus (PMD) carries a label that warns, “Do not use on children under the age of 3.”
Finally, Picaridin was created by Bayer in the 1980s as a synthetic compound from a plant extract related to the black pepper family. It was available in Europe since 1998 and in the US since 2005. Picaridin has been found to be as effective as DEET, but due to its relative newness, we have yet to understand long term health effects on humans.
A handful of viruses, parasites, and bacteria are carried by ticks and all of them are on the rise. There were 115 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in Florida in 2015 up from 85 in 2014. Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass. Walk in the center of trails. Wear hats, use insect repellent (DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus), apply permethrin on clothing. Shower after coming indoors and perform a body check including under arms, in and around ears, and especially the hair. Place outerwear directly into the dryer on high for 10-15 minutes to kill any ticks brought into the house on clothes.
Beware of molten lava slides that have been baking in the summer sun all day. Give slides a hand check before allowing your littles to put their delicate skin down. Consider visiting a playground with more shade, or a splash area, for a special park day.
Each year in the U.S. emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground related injuries. More than 20,000 of these children are treated for traumatic brain injury including concussions. The majority of children are between 5-9 years old. Swings and slides are most dangerous to 0-4 year olds.
Lightning kills 47 people in the U.S. each year with hundreds more that are severely injured. There is no safe place outside when thunderstorms are in the area. If you hear thunder you are likely within striking distance and it is time to go indoors. Lightning can travel through the electrical and plumbing of your house, so avoid devices that are plugged into the wall and hold off on showers.
If you cannot get to safety, you can slightly lessen the threat of being struck, but don’t kid yourself– you are NOT safe outside. Avoid open fields, tops of hills and ridges. Stay away from tall isolated trees, or other tall objects. If you are in a group spread out to avoid the current traveling between members. Avoid water, wet items, and metal objects. Get to a vehicle if possible.
On average 9 people die from drowning every day in the U.S. Drowning is most common for children 5 and under, but is the second leading cause of death for people age 5-24. Don’t go into the water unless you know how to swim. Never swim alone. Learn CPR. Make sure the body of water matches your skill level. Don’t fight currents, stay calm and float with it, or swim parallel to the shore until you can swim free. Swim in areas supervised by a lifeguard. Don’t dive in unfamiliar areas. Never drink alcohol when swimming. Talk to your teens about alcohol. Alcohol is involved in about half of all male teen drownings.
“All the books tell you that if the grizzly comes for you, on no account should you run. This is the sort of advice you get from someone who is sitting at a keyboard when he gives it. Take it from me, if you are in an open space with no weapons and a grizzly comes from you, run. You may as well. If nothing else, it will give you something to do with the last seven seconds of your life.” — Bill Bryson