A Minute with Michele...
Summer is here and that means opportunities for fun in the sun. The warm weather is a great reason for families to enjoy time outdoors in the backyard, at a community pool, or at a park. With so many fun activities for young children to enjoy, it is especially important for parents to be aware of summer safety guidelines.
Sun Protection for young children and families is essential during the summer. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater, that protects against UVA and UVB rays, to children older than 6 months of age. Parents should carefully apply sunscreen to their children, avoiding the eyes, lips, mouth, and hands. Application should occur 30 minutes before going outdoors, even on cloudy days. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours or after swimming or sweating. The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.; if possible, parents should try to keep children out of the sun during those hours. Hats and sunglasses with 100% UV protection for children of all ages is also advised. Babies younger than 6 months should be kept in the shade and out of direct sunlight. Children should drink plenty of water when the weather is warm to avoid dehydration.
In California, drowning is a leading cause of injury-related deaths among children under the age of five. There are NO WARNING SOUNDS or splashing sounds associated with a drowning accident, and drowning can occur in as little as two inches of water in as little as 25 seconds. The good news is there are many ways to keep kids safe in the water. Follow these tips for water safety:
Pools, lakes, ponds, and beaches mean summer fun and cool relief from hot weather. But water also can be dangerous for kids if parents don’t take proper precautions.
NEVER take your eyes off your child when in or around the water.
Ignore your phone. Make a pact with yourself: When you’re at the pool, beach, or lake, silence your phone and stow it out of reach in your bag so your child has your full attention.
Make sure your child knows never to enter the water unless permitted by an adult who is supervising.
Don’t rely on water wings, inflatable toys, floating loungers, or pool noodles.
Children should wear life jackets when in or near bodies of water.
Sing up your child for swimming lessons.
When there’s a crowd, put a parent on lifeguard duty.
As summer beckons, children and their caregivers will spend more time at playgrounds and on outdoor play equipment. Often though, that also means more children are treated for injuries including broken bones and even burns from scorching hot slides.
The Consumer Product Safety Commissioner estimates more than 205,000 children visit emergency rooms with playground-related injuries every year – many of which could be prevented with a little precaution and adult supervision. Consider these tips for safe play:
Supervise children at all times while on playground equipment.
Beware of metal playground equipment on sunny days. Slides can reach very high temperatures, resulting in severe burns.
Check to make sure equipment has safe, soft and well-maintained surfaces.
Check to ensure the area is free from hazardous materials like broken glass.
Remove helmets, necklaces, or clothing with drawstrings that might get caught on equipment.
Check for stinging insect nests where kids play.
Teach children that crowding, pushing and shoving on the playground is dangerous.
Commissioner Chair, Jason Britt's
Health Tip of the Month
Getting a healthy start in life includes immunizations as part of routine visits to a child’s pediatrician. Vaccinations have the power to protect a child from dangerous, and even deadly, diseases.
The Tulare County Health & Human Services Public Health branch encourages parents to have their children vaccinated. Vaccines help develop immunity by imitating an infection that then causes the body to be able to recognize and fight that (vaccine-preventable) disease. Often, after receiving a vaccine, the body has minor symptoms, like a low-grade fever, that mirrors a fight response. This assists the body in recognizing the illness in the future.
Common vaccine side effects are mild, and the diseases the vaccines prevent can be serious or deadly, especially to babies and young children. Serious side effects to vaccinations are rare.
The diseases that vaccines prevent are: chickenpox (varicella), Diptheria, Flu (Influenza), Hepatitis A and B, Hib, Measles, Mumps, Polio, Pneumococcal, Rotavirus, Rubella, Tetanus, Whooping Cough (Pertussis), and (for preteens and teens 7-18) TDAP, Meningococcal, and HPV (Human Papillomavirus).
Schools are required to verify student immunization records before the start of kindergarten and 7th grade to ensure that all immunizations and boosters have been completed. . Kindergartners need to have received five DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) shots, four polio shots, three hepatitis B shots, two MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) shots, and one varicella (chickenpox) shot. Kindergarten boosters for DTaP, polio, and MMR are given at four or five years of age.
All students new to a California school must also meet certain immunization requirements according to their age or grade.
Consult with your primary care physician, or local family clinic about what vaccinations are needed for your baby or child.
More information on required school immunizations is available at:
More information on immunizations is available at: