Written by Dr. Paulo Gazoni Summertime is here. Kids have finished up the school year and are gearing up for the summer months. Regardless of age, children love this time of year, providing them with the perfect chance to spend lots of time outdoors, enjoying swimming, hiking, bike rides or travel to such fun places as the beach or lake. Everyone should enjoy the summer fun, but parents and adults should be aware of the dangers surrounding these activities and how to prevent illnesses and injuries. Here are a few summer safety tips. Tick Bites Ticks are little creatures but they can cause serious illnesses including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Some suggestions to decreasing the chances of contracting tick-borne diseases: – Wear long sleeves, long pants and tuck pants into socks – Use tick and bug repellants – Perform daily tick checks on family members (including family pets) – Consult with your doctor for any concerns or questions Water Safety Adult supervision is the most important part of this. Parents and adults need to be focused on their children at all times. There should be no distractions, including alcohol consumption by the supervising adult. The American Academy of Pediatrics urges parents to practice “touch supervision,” where the adult is one arm’s length away of the child that they are watching. Also, don’t let your guard down, as children can and do drown in many different bodies of water ranging from baby pools to creeks, streams, rivers and oceans. Sun Protection As much as we all enjoy staying outdoors all day, try to avoid sun exposure during the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. When outdoors, wear protective clothing and wide-brimmed hats. Always remember to use sunscreen, even on cloudy days. Products with at least a SPF of 30 with both UVA and UVB protection should be applied, about 30 minutes prior to going out in the sun and then frequently reapplied especially if swimming or sweating. Never forget to protect your eyes from the sun too – wear sunglasses with 99 to 100 percent UV protection. Dehydration and Heat-Related Illnesses Staying well hydrated is extremely important. Often while playing outdoors, kids can forget to drink fluids. As adults, we should provide kids plenty of fluids to drink before going outside, while playing in the heat and after coming back indoors. Seek medical attention for any signs of heat-related illness. Helmet Safety Helmets should always be worn whenever a child is on anything with wheels. Make sure that the helmet fits the child’s head appropriately. Helmets can be life saving and protect children from serious brain injuries. Set an example for the children; make sure that as the adult, you wear a helmet too! Playground Equipment Today’s plastic playground equipment and rubber surfacing can get hot enough to burn children’s skin. Dress kids in appropriate clothing, including shoes. A child’s skin will burn faster than an adults, so if it is hot to the touch, it may be too hot for a child’s bare skin.