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Outdoor Safety Tips Kids of All Ages Should Know

With longer daylight hours and the irresistible call of the backyard, summer means kids spend more time outdoors than ever. While this is mostly a blessing, being outside also comes with its own set of risks, from sun exposure, to poolside dangers, to extra run-ins with insects. This summer, keep your kids safe outdoors with these easy tips for babies, toddlers and kids.

Babies

  • Babies under 6 months should avoid any significant sun exposure. Bring an umbrella or beach tent outside with you, or stay indoors. If going out in the sun is unavoidable, make sure your baby is well covered. Older babies should still be kept out of the sun between the hours between 10AM and 3PM, if possible.
  • Always use sunscreens specific to babies; they are gentler and your baby is less likely to be allergic to them. Remember to apply sunscreen all over your baby, especially places that tend to get overlooked like feet, hands, and neck. Sunscreen wipes are a great option for babies because they are less messy and easier to apply than lotions. MD Moms Babysafe Sunscreen Towelettes are wonderful, but any brand will work as long as they are broad spectrum and SPF+ 50 or higher.
  • Unfortunately, biting bugs don’t make exceptions for babies. For babies over two months old, choose an ultra mild, baby-friendly insect repellent with a DEET concentration of less than 30 percent if your little one is going to be in buggy territory.
  • Pack smart. Keep water and snacks on hand, and make sure to keep foods in a cool, dark place until your little one is ready for them.

Toddlers

  • Toddlers are notoriously attracted to water, so water safety with this age group is essential. Ditch the arm floaties (which are easily pulled off) for a life vest that buckles around the waist with a leg strap. And never leave your child unattended near any pool, tub or body of water.
  • Take precautions to childproof your pool. Gates, screens, bells on your back doorknob – whatever it takes.
  • Make sure to apply insect repellent when necessary, and look for DEET concentration of less than 30 percent. Mosquito, tick, spider, and other insect bites aren’t just painful, they can carry disease.
  • Bring snacks that won’t go bad in the heat, and watch out for food that has been sitting out in the heat for a long time.
  • Keep kids as covered up as possible. Cotton coveralls are cool and protective, and hats with chinstraps will generally stay put.
  • As with babies, it’s hard to keep toddlers standing still, so sunscreen wipes or spray-on sunscreens work well for quick applications. Remember to reapply every hour.

Kids

  • If you’re going to be outside for extended periods of time, be prepared. Have plenty of water, snacks, and even a small first-aid kit. Make sure your child is dressed for the occasion, including the correct shoes. Always bring plenty of broad-spectrum sunscreens that block out ultraviolet A & B rays.
  • Kids love being outside and won’t always know when to take a break. Make sure to be mindful of their sun exposure and see that they take frequent breaks from the sun by coming inside for drinks and bathroom breaks. Keep them well hydrated but stay away from the sugary drinks.
  • For lake or ocean activities always make sure your child wears a life vest with a buckle. Even if your child is an excellent swimmer, it is dangerous to let them swim freely in dark, unclear waters.
  • Sunscreen can sting eyes, so sunscreen specific to the face is always a good idea for water activities. Kiss My Face Kids’ Mineral Sun Stick or Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunblock Stick are popular options that are very effective and tear-free.
  • Know which sunscreens your child is allergic to, if any. Make sure their sunscreen is waterproof or water-resistant and apply at least 30 minutes before going outside, then re-apply every hour.
  • Have child-friendly insect repellent (DEET concentration of less than 30 percent) on hand, and make sure your kids avoid pools of stagnant water, which can be full of mosquitos.
  • Exploring at this age means using your hands. Make sure kids wash their hands regularly or use hand sanitizers to kill bacteria.
  • Bring snacks that won’t go bad in the heat, and watch out for food that has been sitting out in the heat for a long time.
  • Make sure kids wear the appropriate padding and equipment during sports and activities.
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