June 14, 2024 // by Adam Lerche, MD

Summer brings plenty of outdoor adventures for families to enjoy. While having fun, it's important to remember the safety of our little ones. From car safety to managing bee stings, Dr. Lerche from Bardonia Pediatrics provides important tips to ensure your children stay safe throughout the summer months.

Always Bring Your Children With You, Even Running Quick Errands

  • In warm and cool weather, cars heat up very quickly, even with the windows cracked open.
  • Temperatures inside the car can rise close to 20 degrees F within the first 10 minutes.
  • Some experts recommend putting your handbag in the backseat next to your child, so you remember the precious cargo in the back seat.

Never Leave Children Unattended Around a Body of Water

  • There should always be a fence at least 4 feet high around the pool, with a self-closing, self-locking door.
  • Put your cell phone away when supervising your child around water. Avoid taking phone calls and even quick text messages. 
  • Inflatable swimming devices are not life jackets. Children must still be supervised.
  • Practice “touch supervision” - An adult should be within arm's length when infants and toddlers are in the pool.
  • If you have a small inflatable pool, drain it when not using it to avoid accidents.

Prevent Sunburns

  • It’s best to keep babies under six months out of the sun. However, if they are outside, it be sure to apply sunscreen on exposed areas at any age. 
  • Sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before going outside, after swimming, and every 2 hours.
  • A hat, sunglasses, and long clothing provide extra protection.
  • In the event of a sunburn: 
  • Apply cool compresses and give a pain reducer like acetaminophen.
  • Call your pediatrician if your child has blisters, a fever, chills, or is not feeling well.

Treating Bee Stings

  • After a bee sting, remove the stinger. Run a credit card horizontally across the sting to remove it. Avoid squeezing it with tweezers, as it can release extra venom. 
  • Soothe the area with a cool compress. 
  • If there is swelling, an antihistamine like Benadryl is often recommended.
  • If your child begins to have difficulty breathing or starts to look ill, call 911!
  • If a child has a history of severe allergy to a bee sting, always keep an Epi-pen with the child.

Choosing an Insect Repellent

  • Before age 2, the skin of infants and children may be different than adult skin. Apply insect repellent sparingly to exposed skin.
  • To ensure effectiveness, use an insect-repellent that is registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Products containing DEET and picaridin are examples. Oil of lemon eucalyptus is also an option for children 3+. Use this tool to search for EPA-registered insect repellents.
  • Avoid products with a DEET concentration above 30%.
  • While sunscreen is reapplied every 2 hours, insect repellent should be applied once daily during peak insect exposure times.
  • Apply insect repellents only to the outside of your child's clothing and on exposed skin—not under clothing.
  • When your children return indoors, wash their skin with soap and water to remove any repellent, and wash their clothing before they wear it again.
  • Use mosquito netting over baby carriers or strollers when your baby may be exposed to insects.

While enjoying outdoor fun this summer, let’s keep safety at the forefront. By following Dr. Lerche's tips, you can ensure a safe and fun season for your family. Here's to a summer filled with joy, laughter, and peace of mind as you make lasting memories together!