Ahhhh, the joys of summer: Sun, water, flowers, parties, alcohol…Hang on! Let’s start over.

Ahhhh, the joy of summers…how to have a great one and avoid any major or minor tragedies. Yes, that’s better. 

Summer is the season of life. It is the time of year when we spend time outside of our homes instead of inside. We want to appreciate, explore, and love the earth during its most fruitful time. During this season though, we become less focused on our health and safety, as well as that of our children.
Did you know that summer is the season for the highest numbers of drownings, alcohol and non-alcohol related car and bike accidents, sun poisoning, burns, and allergic reactions? Well, it is. This is the season when kids are “more free” and less supervised in the summer than during the school year, and can get into more trouble.

Here are 5 golden rules to a great summer and then on to some questions…

2. Avoid alcohol in combination with any water sports
3. Keep well hydrated
4. Apply sunscreen liberally to you and your children when in direct sunlight

What kind of kid is most likely to drown?
The most likely culprits are teen-age boys. They like to take chances. Drownings happen most commonly in the summer, on a Saturday, and in an unsupervised body of water. Drowning isn’t just from not being able to swim. Drowning can occur from accidentally hitting one’s head or neck and losing consciousness. Also, alcohol can dull the senses and slow your reflexes, and therefore make you less able to take care of yourself in the water. 
Don’t dive in shallow or untested waters. Don’t swim without a friend or buddy. Don’t drink and swim.

I want to have a pool party for my friends. What should I do with my kids?
I guess that would depend on how “crazy” a party you plan to have and if you’ll honestly be able to supervise your children. 
I had taken care of a drunken 3 year old whose blood alcohol level was 3 times the legal amount. His parents had fallen asleep at their “July 4th bash”. Their 3-year-old boy had walked around the yard and house and drank everybody’s left over (half-empty) cocktails. He ended up being on a ventilator for 2 days, but recovered.If you plan on having your senses dulled, then I would not have your children around you, especially if your parties include alcohol.
I need to run and get groceries a lot. I don’t have time to take my kids in with me. How long can I leave them in the car?

Well, I’ve got another story for you. A father had taken his 17-month girl to the grocery with him. She had fallen asleep in the car, so he thought he would “run in and out”. It was August. He ended up being in the grocery for 2 hours. By the time she was found, she was hardly breathing and her temperature was 105.5 degrees (normal is 98.6 degrees). We took care of her in the pediatric intensive care unit for about 8 days.
Don’t leave your kids in the car alone. Don’t even leave your pets in the car for too long, and don’t forget to have the windows rolled half way down for them.

I am 16 years old. I want a nice tan fast, but I burn easy. What should I do?
How about…don’t get one? The safest way to tan is with a darkened skin lotion, which you apply to your skin, and gives you the appearance of a tan, but without the sun damage. If you insist on “sun worshiping”, follow the rules below: 

1. Stay out of the sun from 10 am to 4 pm
2. Use a sun block of SPF 30 or higher
3. Keep hydrated
4. Don’t drink and sunbathe; you’ll fall asleep and burn like butter 

My 2-year-old boy is very sensitive to everything from peanuts to bee stings. How can we enjoy the outdoors with him?
You still can. You just need to be careful. Keep him away from flower gardens, and picnic foods which are left out in the open. Bees love flowers and food. Also, keep him away from “weedy fields” and meadows. Pollen, dirt, and grasses flying around him can aggravate allergies. Long sleeves and pants will prevent insects from biting him, along with avoiding bright colored clothing and using insect lotion. Insect lotion should not contain more than 10% DEET, because it is absorbed through the skin, and can harm your child. You may also use Oil of lemon eucalyptus (P-menthane diol (PMD). PMD is a plant-based repellent that gives protection time similar to low concentrations of DEET products. It is not recommended for kids under 3 years old.

Have a Safe and Rockin’ summer!

Sincerely, Mike