VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Summer is almost here and that means much more outdoor fun for your kids.
It's important to think about extended sun and heat exposure, water safety and insect bites.
Although there are added precautions when dealing with the season, Dr. Bob Lehman with Pediatric Affiliates of Hampton Roads says its important to get your kids outside in the elements. "We definitely want them going outside, going to camp. We want them interacting with other kids we want them in the sun in the water, to be outside and breath fresh air. That’s so important."
When dealing with extended sun and heat exposure, Dr. Lehman says no matter where you go, even if it's cloudy or you'll be under some shade, your child needs to be wearing sunscreen.
"Sunscreen needs to be applied throughout all the areas that are exposed including behind the ears on the nose forehead," says Lehman.
SPF 15 and up should be enough. Whichever sunscreen you choose needs to have broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection.
As far as water safety, its important to constantly be watching your kids when they're swimming.
"Around the pool around the beach is not a time to be texting surfing or twittering when you have a child that’s there," says Lehman.
He also says every one, no matter what age, needs to be able to swim.
"Everybody needs to learn how to swim. Period. You can teach a child from six months on just to get used to the water and get them into a certified class so they get comfortable being in the pool and you feel comfortable having them in the pool."
For kids under six months he says constant contact is a necessity.
"Six months and below most parents put them into flotation devices and that’s fine," says Dr. Lehman, "but those children should be in arms length of you at all times. Don’t ever let them float away and think that will support them."
If your kids are old enough to swim on their own, its important to not only continue to keep an eye on them, but to also keep an eye on the lifeguards.
"I suggest the parents watch the lifeguard," says Dr. Lehman. "Typically they do a great job at watching kids, but there can be something that distracts them for awhile and sometimes there could be too many children in the pool. The only one you're really concerned about is your own child, but I would suggest to watch the watcher."
Bug bites are the last big issue.
"Everyone is concerned now about Zika, but we have to worry about Dengue fever and Lyme disease," says Lehman.
Any bug spray you choose needs to have at least twenty percent of the repellent 'DEET' and needs to be applied to any exposed area.