Summertime is fun and exciting, filled with all kinds of outdoor activities like barbeques, sporting events, swimming, and bike riding, but it can also be a dangerous time a year. Keep your teens safe this summer by taking time to talk with them about these safety tips.
To Avoid Permanent Sun Damage to Skin and Eyes:
- Cover up. Covering up is the first and best line of defense against the sun. Encourage your teen to wear a hat with a brim, use sunglasses (look for sunglasses that block 99-100% of ultraviolet rays), and wear cotton clothing with a tight weave.
- Stay in the shade. Advise your teen to limit sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., whenever possible. Use a sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or greater. Be sure that your teen applies enough sunscreen.
- Reapply sunscreen. Remind your teen that sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, or after swimming or sweating, even if it is considered waterproof.
To Avoid Heat Exhaustion, Fainting and Dangerous Dehydration:
- Have your teen reduce physical activity when necessary. Activities that last 15 minutes or more should be limited whenever temperatures are high.
- Teens should be well hydrated. Be sure your teen drinks enough water before physical activity. During the activity, insist on periodic drinking, for example, every 20 minutes, 5 oz of cold tap water or a flavored sports drink for a child weighing 90 lbs, and 9 oz for an adolescent weighing 130 lbs, even if the child does not feel thirsty. Practices and games played in the sun and heat should be shortened and more frequent water breaks should be provided.
- Wear light clothing. Clothing should be light-colored and lightweight and limited to one layer of absorbent material. Sweat - saturated clothes should be replaced by dry clothes.
To Avoid Bicycle, Skateboard and Scooter Injury:
- Make sure your teen's bike is properly fitted. Take your teen with you when you shop for a bike, so that he or she can try it out. It is more important to get the right fit for your teen than to surprise him or her with a bicycle that is too big or too small. Buy a bike that is the right size, not one your teen has to "grow into." Oversized bikes are especially dangerous.
- Teens should always wear a helmet and other protective gear. No matter how short or how close to home the bike ride is, always have your teen wear a helmet. Many accidents happen in driveways, on sidewalks, and on bike paths, not just on streets. A helmet protects your teen from serious injury. And remember, wearing a helmet at all times helps teens develop the helmet habit. Teens learn best by observing you. Whenever you ride, wear your helmet.
- Purchase a helmet that is safety certified. Look for a label or sticker that states the helmet meets the CPSC safety standard.
- Make sure your teen's helmet is worn properly. A helmet should be worn so that it is level on the head, not tipped forwards or backwards. The strap should be securely fastened, and you should not be able to move the helmet in any direction. If needed, the helmet's sizing pads can help improve the fit.
- Never ride near traffic. Teens should never ride bikes, skateboards or scooters in or near traffic.
- Advocate for skateboard parks. Communities should continue to develop skateboard parks, which are more likely to be monitored for safety than ramps and jumps constructed by teens at home.
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