FUN IN THE SUN
Babies under 6 months:
- To prevent sunburn the AAP recommends that infants avoid sun exposure, and are dressed in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats that shade the neck to prevent sunburn. However, when adequate clothing and shade are not available, parents can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF (sun protection factor) to small areas, such as the infant’s face and the back of the hands. If an infant gets a sunburn, apply cool compresses to the affected area.
For All Other Children:
- The first, and best, line of defense against harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure is avoiding sun exposure by covering up. Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours – between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Wear a hat with a three-inch brim or a bill facing forward, sunglasses (look for sunglasses that provide 97% -100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays), and clothing with a tight weave.
- On both sunny and cloudy days use a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater that protects against UVA and UVB rays.
- Be sure to apply enough sunscreen — about one ounce per application for a young adult.
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours, and after swimming or sweating.
- Use extra caution near water and sand (and even snow!) as they reflect UV rays and may result in sunburn more quickly.
- Never leave children alone in or near water, even for a moment; close supervision by a responsible adult is the best way to prevent drowning in children.
- Less experienced swimmers and children under age 5 in or around water should have an adult – preferably one who knows how to swim and perform CPR – within arm’s length, providing “touch supervision.”
- Never swim alone. Even good swimmers need buddies!
- Designate a “water watcher” when you are in, on or around water.
- Because drowning can be quick and quiet, the water watcher should pay constant attention, be undistracted, not involved in any other activity such as reading, playing cards, on the phone, while supervising children, even if lifeguards are present.
- Install a fence at least 4 feet high around all four sides of the pool. The fence should not have openings or protrusions that a young child could use to get over, under, or through.
- Make sure pool gates open out from the pool, and self-close and self-latch at a height children can’t reach. Consider alarms on the gate to alert you when someone opens the gate. Consider surface wave or underwater alarms as an added layer of protection.
- The safest fence is one that surrounds all 4 sides of the pool and completely separates the pool from the house and yard. If the house serves as the fourth side of the fence, install an alarm on the exit door to the yard and the pool. For additional protection, install window guards on windows facing the pool. Drowning victims have also used pet doors to gain access to pools. Keep all of your barriers and alarms in good repair with fresh batteries.
- Keep rescue equipment (a shepherd’s hook – a long pole with a hook on the end — and life preserver) and a portable telephone near the pool. Choose a shepherd’s hook and other rescue equipment made of fiberglass or other materials that do not conduct electricity.
- Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as “floaties.” They are not a substitute for approved life jackets and can give children and parents a false sense of security.
- Children over age 1 may be at a lower risk of drowning if they have had some formal swimming instruction. However, there is no evidence that swimming lessons or water survival skills courses can prevent drowning in babies younger than 1 year of age.
- The decision to enroll a child over age one in swimming lessons should be made by the parent based on the child’s developmental readiness and exposure to water, but swim programs should never be seen as “drown proofing” a child of any age.
- Avoid entrapment: Suction from pool and spa drains can trap a swimmer underwater. Do not use a pool or spa if there are broken or missing drain covers. Ask your pool operator if your pool or spa’s drains are compliant with the Pool and Spa Safety Act. If you have a swimming pool or spa, ask your pool service representative to update your drains and other suction fittings with anti-entrapment drain covers and other devices or systems. See PoolSafely.gov for more information on the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.
- Large, inflatable, above-ground pools have become increasingly popular for backyard use. Children may fall in if they lean against the soft side of an inflatable pool. Although such pools are often exempt from local pool fencing requirements, it is essential that they be surrounded by an appropriate fence just as a permanent pool would be so that children cannot gain unsupervised access.
- If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first.
- Share safety instructions with family, friends and neighbors.