A day at the beach or swimming at a local lake sounds like fun, but as a responsible parent you need to be aware of your child's health and safety. The following are some things to watch for to ensure you don't end up with an emergency.
#1: Read the label
Sun block is one of the most important things you can bring with you to the beach. You have several options when it comes to choosing sunblock. Your best choice is to opt for one formulated for kids that contains an SPF level of 15 or higher. Spray-on sunblocks are excellent for squirmy toddlers, but you should still use a lotion or cream on the face to ensure thorough coverage. Also, make sure to read the labels closely. Often, sunblock needs to be applied at least a half hour before heading into the sun for maximum protection. You will also need to reapply it as directed, especially if your child is spending a lot of time in the water.
#2: Be prepared for insects
Insects can be attracted to the water and food often present at a beach area. Wasps, bees, and other stinging insects are typically the main concern, although there may be some location-specific pests to also keep in mind. If your child has a known allergy, do not head to the beach without an epi-pen or the emergency medication prescribed by your doctor. It's also a good idea to bring along children's benadryll or a similar anti-allergen medication even if your child has no known allergies, just to be on the safe side. Finally, if there are trees near the water, use a bug spray formulated to combat both ticks and mosquitoes, since these pests can spread highly dangerous diseases like West Nile or Lyme disease.
#3: Watch for heat ailments
The heat at the beach is also a major concern. Make sure your child stays well hydrated by providing them with plenty of water and scheduling rehydration breaks in a shaded area. If your child becomes dizzy, develops a headache, complains of muscle cramps, or gets nauseous, they may be suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke. It is vital that you get them out of the sun and contact your doctor for further instructions. In some cases, emergency care may be necessary.
For more help, contact a pediatric urgent care center in your area.