SUMMER hols are just around the corner and every parent knows how difficult it can be to keep the reigns on kids for six whole weeks.
But there are plenty of things that can put children at danger during the summer.
Ahead of what is set to be the hottest day of the year, Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England, called on the public to help prevent kids and other vulnerable groups falling victim to the sun’s heat and rays.
Almost 3,000 people were admitted to hospital because of heat-related ailments in 2017/18, including 632 with severe sunburn, 100 cases of heat exhaustion and 223 cases of sun and heat-stroke – and that’s not even factoring last summer’s heatwave.
It’s not just about potential sunburn; wasps, dehydration and overcrowding can all be common issues during these long, hot days.
Nearly 3,000 people are admitted to hospital due to the effects of pollen and 5,700 due to being stung by wasps, hornets, and other insects.
Which is why paediatric first aid specialist Jenni Dunman, founder of Daisy First Aid runs fun, fear-free summer safety classes for parents and carers.
She’s put together five top tips for keeping your little ones safe and happy all summer:
1. Bees and wasp stings
A bee will usually leave behind a stinger attached to a venom sac.
• Remove it quickly using a scraping motion, a hard-edged card like a debit card is perfect for removing the sting
Wasps don’t leave their stingers which means they can sting again.
• Clean the area with soap and water
• Apply an ice pack wrapped in cloth or wet cloth for a few minutes
• Age appropriate antihistamine will help with pain and itching, you can also apply calamine lotion
Call 999 if they show signs of anaphylaxis, symptoms include swelling of mouth, tongue and airway, which needs to be treated immediately.
2. Sun safety
• Apply a high SPF sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapply during the day and after swimming
• Dress your children in protective hats and clothes ideally with sun protection. Try and keep them out of direct sunlight between 10am-4pm
• Remember to protect their eyes choose sunglasses with UVA & UVB protection
• You can still sunburn on a cloudy day, so always protect them
• Give your child frequent water breaks and spray down children with a spray bottle
• Half fill a water bottle and put in the freezer, then fill the rest with cold water to keep cool during the day when out and about. Add slices of fruit to add variety.
4. Lost child
• Busy beaches, theme parks and events are the times when your little ones can wonder off
• Show them a landmark for them to go to if they lose you and discuss ‘what if’ you get lost, go to a lifeguard, policeman or mother with kids
• Use a child wrist band with your mobile number printed on
• Put them in bright clothes
5. Swimming safety
• Always supervise young children near water, this is not a time to be distracted by your phone
• Even if a pool has a lifeguard, know where your children are and what they are doing
• Give your children water confidence by taking swimming lessons
• Have swimming rules for children like, never swim alone, jump in feet first and check depth, do not push others and let them know where to get help in an emergency
Sun safety tips for everyone over the weekend
10 more tips for coping in hot weather:
- Shut windows and pull down the shades when it is hotter outside. You can open the windows for ventilation when it is cooler.
- If you’re vulnerable to the effects of heat, avoid the sun during the hottest part of the day (11am and 3pm).
- Keep rooms cool by using shades or reflective material outside the windows. If this isn’t possible, use light-coloured curtains and keep them closed (metallic blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter).
- Have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water.
- Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol – water, lower-fat milks and tea and coffee are good options.
- Listen to alerts on the radio, TV and social media about keeping cool.
- Plan ahead to make sure you have enough supplies, such as food, water and any medications you need.
- Identify the coolest room in the house so you know where to go to keep cool.
- Wear loose, cool clothing, and a hat and sunglasses if you go outdoors.
- Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves.
Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said: “Like lots of people I’m looking forward to having fun in the sun with family and friends this weekend, but nobody wants to spend a pleasant day stuck in a hospital or urgent treatment centre.”
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Whatever you’re doing, she said to be sure to drink plenty of water, use high-factor suncream and take allergy meds if you need them.
“And while the NHS will always be there for those who need it, people with minor illnesses and injuries can help frontline staff provide care quickly for those in the greatest need.
“People should talk before they walk, and join the hundreds of thousands getting fast and free advice on the best course of action for them from the NHS.uk website or 111 phone line.”
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