6 Summer Safety Myths that Put Kids at Risk

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Emergency room professionals have a name for the long, lazy days that kids look forward to in summer: trauma season. That’s when hospitals tend to see a spike in drownings and heat-related incidents.

Here are some of the biggest misconceptions about popular summertime activities:

Myth 1: You don’t have to worry about sunburn on cloudy days.
Fact: You can get a severe sunburn on a cloudy day. Overcast weather, no matter how cloudy, doesn’t affect the how much harmful UV exposure someone receives. Experts advise using clothing and hats to avoid sun exposure, particularly for babies younger than six months, and applying sunscreen of at least SPF 15 that protects against UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreen should be applied at least 30 minutes before going outside and reapplied every two hours or after swimming or sweating.

Myth 2: Heat isn’t a problem until July or August when temperatures peak.
Fact: Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are more prevalent early in the season because our bodies haven’t had a chance to acclimatize.

Myth 3: Floaties keep little ones safe in the water.
Fact: Floaties are designed for fun, not safety. They give a false sense of security, can deflate and can slip off.

Myth 4: The kids will be fine in the pool for the short time it takes to answer the phone or get a drink.
Fact: In a minute, your child can go under water. In two or three minutes, your child can lose consciousness. In four or five, your child could suffer irreversible brain damage or die. Drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children 1 to 14 years old, second only to automobile and transportation-related accidents.

Myth 5: Children need to drink only when they are thirsty.
Fact: By the time your child is thirsty, he or she may already be dehydrated. If a child weighs 100 pounds or less, he or she should be drinking five or six ounces of water or sports drink every 15 minutes or so.

Myth 6: It’s safe to keep kids in car seats when the driver gets out for a quick errand.
Fact: The temperature inside a car can rise quickly in the summer, leading to brain damage, kidney failure and death in minutes. When outside temperatures are between 80 F to 100 F, the temperature inside a car can quickly rise to more than 170 F. Children are less able to handle extreme heat than adults.

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