Summer Proof Your Kids: Part 1

This is the first installment of an ongoing series with helpful tips to ensure your kids have a safe and fun summer, courtesy of Dr. Christopher Spinelli.

School is out and summer break is upon us. Before everybody, kids especially, gets ready to step outside the door to have some fun and enjoy the weather, there are a few safety tips that might be helpful to consider.

Having a small first aid kit available, on your person or otherwise, will definitely come in handy. Simple things like Band-Aids, Cortisone cream, Benadryl and antiseptic wipes will help with the random cuts and scrapes, as well as the occasional bug bite, that can occur during a fun day in the sun. If your child does have allergies to bees or wasps, make sure you are prepared with Benadryl and an epinephrine pen, depending on the severity of the reaction.

The front door of your family home isn’t the only door put to good use during the spring and summer months. The clinic door to the ER is also active, to treat both trauma and injuries. If the kids are out riding bikes, scooters or skateboards, it’s always a good idea to wear a helmet and other protective gear, such as elbow pads and knee pads. Riding bicycles or skateboards in flip-flops is never a good plan.

As the days grow longer and the temperature rises, the pool and other bodies of water will become popular destinations. Drowning is as preventable as it is a frightening concept. First of all, if you can’t swim, drowning is a real problem. Drowning is a problem even if you can swim. Make sure to keep an eye on your children, especially those who are younger and smaller. Don’t rely on someone else to watch your children for you, if you can help it. Having a lifeguard around is helpful, but certainly isn’t 100% preventative of drowning. We live in an area with lots of lakes, so make sure that life-jackets are involved when enjoying time both on the boat or in the water. Oftentimes, teenagers may feel they don’t need life-jackets when skiing since they can swim, however, if they are knocked unconscious, swimming becomes difficult.

The water may provide some relief from the sweltering sun, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you do to make sure the kids have as much protection as possible. The sun can hurt your skin if there is too much exposure. For small children, this can be especially painful and even a medically threatening condition, if it’s exceptionally severe. Don’t. Forget. The Sunscreen. You can find a variety of SPF, anywhere from 15 up to 100 proof. High SPF or low SPF, reapply frequently, and even if the bottle says “waterproof”, consider the quotations, because no sunscreen is completely waterproof. If around water, make sure to apply even more frequently than if you are not around water.


Christopher Spinelli DO, FAAP, is a pediatrician at the OCH Northside Clinic in Springfield, MO. Dr. Spinelli is also currently a Major in the United States Air Force Reserve. After completing an undergraduate degree from Truman State University, Dr. Spinelli graduated from Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his Pediatric residency at Keesler Medical Center in Biloxi, MS.


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