Summer Sun and Water Safety

Sun Safety

The warm weather and summer break makes summer a great time of the year for any family! So whether you’re going to the pool or heading out for a family hike, make sure to pack the sunscreen! Painful sunburns are not just uncomfortable for your children but can increase their chance of skin cancer.

Babies under six months should avoid sun exposure, especially during the hours of 11am-2pm. Dress them in lightweight clothing and brimmed hats that shade both the face and neck to prevent a sunburn. Parents can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 30 SPF (Sun Protection Factor) to small areas, such as the infant’s face, legs, and feet.

If an infant gets sunburn, apply cool compresses to the affected area. For older children, the best line of defense against harmful sun exposure is being covered. Make sure that they wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen while outside during these hot summer months. Remember to reapply the sunscreen every two hours, after swimming or sweating.

Before outdoor physical activities, children should drink freely and should not feel thirsty. During activities less than one hour, water alone is fine. Kids should always have water or a sport drink available and take a break to drink every 20 minutes. Children should promptly move to cooler environments if they feel dizzy, lightheaded, or nauseous.

Babies are prone to having problems with extreme heat since they are not efficient at regulating their body temperature. To prevent this problem, make sure you dress your baby in loose and lightweight clothing. Try to keep your baby shaded when outside and while in a car.


Place something that you will need (i.e. cell phone, wallet, or brief case) in the backseat or on the floor.


Summer time brings great times at the pool and beach. It’s a time to be with family, friends and to relax. Injuries aren’t the first thing on our minds, yet drowning is the leading cause of injury and death for young children ages one to four years old. It’s the second leading cause of death for children from 5-14 years old.

Parents and caregivers can play a key role in protecting children from drowning. Drowning risks usually are from:

  • Inability to swim
  • Lack of close supervision
  • Failure to wear life jackets
  • Lack of fencing
  • Alcohol use

Stay alert! Don’t be distracted!

Don’t engage in other activities (phone, internet, reading, outdoor chores, or activities far from the water). Give the children 100% of your attention. If you have to leave the pool, even for a moment, take your children with you.


Alternate taking turns every 30 minutes with other adults at the pool. Be aware of the hours at dusk. This is a busy time around pools. Doors are left open, barbecues are going, and children are running around. Accidents can happen when the kids are out of the water as well. Educate children to NEVER swim alone.

Safety Tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

  • Never leave children alone in or near the pool or spa, even for a moment.
  • Install a fence at least 4 feet high around all four sides of the pool. The fence should not have openings or protrusions that a young child could use to get over, under, or through. Make sure pool gates open out from the pool, and self-close and self-latch at a height children can’t reach. Consider alarms on the gate to alert you when someone opens the gate. Consider surface wave or underwater alarms as an added layer of protection.
  • Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as “floaties.” They are not a substitute for approved life vests and can give children and parent a false sense of security.
  • Children ages 1 to 4 may be at a lower risk of drowning if they have had some formal swimming instruction. However, there is no evidence that swimming lessons or water survival skills courses can prevent drowning in babies younger than 1 year of age.
  • The decision to enroll a 1-4-year-old child in swimming lessons should be made by the parent and based on the child’s developmental readiness, but swim programs should never be seen as “drown proofing” a child of any age.
  • Avoid entrapment: Suction from pool and spa drains can trap a swimmer underwater. Do not use a pool or spa if there are broken or missing drain covers.
  • Large, inflatable, aboveground pools have become increasingly popular for backyard use. Children may fall in if they lean against the soft side of an inflatable pool.
  • If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first.
  • Share safety instructions with family, friends and neighbors.
  • Learn how to perform CPR on Children and Adults.

Image via gfpeck on Flickr