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Safe Summer Play

May through August can be a dangerous time of year for children, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.
Meredith Bowen, MD, family medicine physician at Rowan Family Physicians South offers the following recommendations can help keep your kids safe and sound.
Water rules
Every year, thousands of Americans drown, with young children having the highest death rate. Here’s how to keep your children safe around water:
•    Never leave them alone near water. That means at the pool or beach, or near a river, deep bucket, or bathtub.
•    Teach older children to always swim with a buddy, and not to dive headfirst into an unknown body of water.
•    Go to beaches with lifeguards, and ask where the safest swimming areas are.
•    Teach your children about rip currents if they swim in the ocean. If they get caught in one, they need to know to swim to the side one way or the other until they can swim back to shore.
Shun the sun
One of the risk factors of skin cancer is having frequent sunburns as a child. Protect your kids now and in the future:
•    Limit their time outside when the sun’s rays are strongest: between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
•    Have them apply sunscreen rated at least SPF 15 or higher every two hours.
•    Have them wear a brimmed hat and sunglasses when spending time in the sun.
Bikers beware
Make sure your children wear helmets when riding their bikes. According to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, 85 percent of cyclists’ head injuries could have been prevented if they had been wearing helmets.
Helmets should fit snugly and be strapped securely under the chin. In addition to cyclists, skateboarders, and in-line skaters also should wear helmets.
Heat-related illnesses
Heat exhaustion can occur in hot, humid weather. Warning signs include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, weakness, headache, nausea, and fainting. Move the child to a shady area or an air-conditioned room or car. Provide plenty of cool water or decaffeinated drinks.
Heatstroke is an emergency. Warning signs include high body temperature, red skin with no sweating, rapid pulse, and confusion. If your child has any of these signs, call for immediate medical help.
Meredith Bowen, MD, is a family medicine physician at Rowan Family Physicians South. To learn more, call 704-855-8338 or visit www.rowan-fp.com

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