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Caring for Kids: 4 Health Hazards to Look Out For

Home and family are the places that children need to feel safe so they can grow, learn, and feel secure and content. Unfortunately, they will also encounter many hazards even under the most ordinary of circumstances. Sometimes we forget that children are not just fragile, but very naïve. Here are some common hazards that you should be watching for. 

Sun exposure

Young children, especially toddlers and infants, have delicate skin that’s particularly vulnerable to the hot sun. Infants should be covered with loose, light, but long-sleeved clothing and brimmed hats to minimize exposure. Older children should use sunscreen of SPF 15 or more before going outside, even on cloudy days. Apply more sunscreen every few hours, or after swimming or activity that brings on a sweat. If children do become sunburned, get them inside and apply cool compresses and moistening lotions.

Pool safety

To young children, pools are fun, fascinating, but potentially dangerous. If you have a pool, keep it fenced in with a gate at least four feet high that has a self-latching mechanism out of reach of small arms. Always have a responsible adult on hand to watch children in and around pools. Be certain that any drains or intakes are covered with a safe grating. If you own a pool or spend a lot of time at one, get your child swimming lessons as early as possible. 

Bee stings

Bees may nest almost anywhere. Three percent of children are highly allergic to bee stings. If you’re worried your child might be allergic, you don’t need to wait for them to get stung to find out. You can take them to a specialist like Oak Brook Allergists or someone similar to have them tested. Even if you’re not sure, it’s important to get children indoors if you see multiple bees appearing. If you spot a nest, call an exterminator. To treat bee stings, remove the stinger with a pair of tweezers, wash the area with soap or an antiseptic, and apply a cold compress to reduce the pain and swelling. If any signs of severe allergic reaction appear, call 911. 

Heat exhaustion

This is a danger for older children who want tend to be energetic when playing outdoors, even on very hot days. Heat exhaustion is a constant danger if they don’t learn to pace themselves. When you have children playing in the heat, get them to take a break every 20 minutes for a cool drink and a moment in the shade. If a child shows signs of nausea, dizziness, or chills, get them into the air conditioning and rub the skin with an ice pack.

Most hazards are avoidable with some preparation and vigilance. But teaching children the risks, and how to react to avoid them, may save their lives.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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