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If you haven’t done so already, dust off your grill, get that patio furniture out of storage and get ready because the warm lazy days of summer are here. Sunday, June 21st is the official first day of summer! Summer is a great time for families to enjoy different outdoor activities.

Getting outside and enjoying the fresh air and sunshine is great but there are some safety precautions to keep in mind to ensure your family has a safe and enjoyable summer:

Sun safety: Sunburn can cause pain, fever and dehydration and only one sunburn as an infant can increase your chances of skin cancer. The first step in protecting infants from the sun is dressing them in protective clothing, light and loose fitting clothing is best, sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat. Babies under 6 months should not use sunscreen. Protect babies from the sun by keeping them out of direct sunlight, use an umbrella, sit in the shade or use the canopy in a stroller. For babies 6months and older it is recommended to use sunscreen with at least 30 SPF, the higher the number the more protection. Look for a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays. It may be labelled UVA/UVB or broad-spectrum. A good sunscreen will also display the Canadian Dermatology Association logo. Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes prior to heading outside and reapply every 2 hours and after swimming.

Stay Cool: As temperatures rise, heat exhaustion becomes a concern. It is important to keep cool, hydrated and minimize time in the sun between the hours of 11am and 4pm. Drink plenty of water, sit in the shade, slow down, wear light coloured clothing and visit buildings with air conditioning. If the humidex reading is greater than 40 degrees Celsius then children should remain indoors.  NEVER LEAVE CHILDREN OR PETS ALONE IN A VEHICLE.

Pack a traveling first aid kit: Summer is a great time to make sure you have a stocked first aid kit as it is the time of year when most accidents occur. You may not be able to prevent them but you can be prepared for when they happen. Here are some items to include:

  • Band-Aids
  • Soap
  • Antibacterial gel or foam
  • Triple-antibiotic ointment
  • Hydro-cortisone cream
  • Sterile gauze pads
  • Adhesive tape
  • Tweezers
  • Washcloths
  • Cold packs
  • Infant and children’s Motrin or Tylenol
  • Oral antihistamine
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Digital thermometer

When thunder roars, go indoors: If you can hear thunder then there is danger of getting hit by lightning. Take shelter immediately in a sturdy, fully enclosed building. If a building is not accessible then take shelter in a metal roofed vehicle. Remain indoors for at least 30 minutes after that last rumble of thunder.

Avoid bugs and bug bites: The best way to avoid bugs and bug bites is to stay indoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active. Ticks are also a concern and they can be found in wooded areas and tall grass. Wearing light coloured clothing is less attractive to mosquitoes and is easier to see ticks. Use Insect Repellant containing deet to keep bugs from biting. Bug spray contains different percentages of deet, the higher percentage doesn’t mean it is stronger, it just lasts longer. Here are some guidelines for using bug spray on children: Under 6months of age, do not use bug spray. Ages 6 months up to 2 years use 10% concentration and only apply once, this will offer 3 hours of protection. Ages 2 – 12 years may use 10% concentration and can be applied up to 3 times in a day. Only spray exposed skin or on clothing, do not apply under clothing.

Keep food fresh: Chilling foods properly is the best way to avoid food borne illness. Leftovers should be stored in the fridge immediately. Throw away any food that has been sitting out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Check here for more food safety guidelines

Social media safety: Don’t mention you are leaving town on any of your social media networks, you may also want to delete any comments friends or family may post regarding your vacation. Social media networks also allow you to check in places you are visiting and geotag your photos that you share. Most people wouldn’t think twice about posting their excitement for their upcoming vacation, posting photos of places they’ve seen, or checking in online so their followers can see where they are. But these are all things you should avoid as it informs strangers you are not at home and could make your home a target for criminals. It is best to share your vacation experience when you return home.

Whatever the adventure you and your family may take this summer, we hope you all have fun and stay safe!