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Safe Summertime Tips

Summer time in our hot climate usually means lots of outdoor living - BBQs, Swimming at the beach or in the pool, picnics and days in the park. With active little ones joining in the fun of summer days we must be extra vigilant to make sure we protect them from the dangers of the suns rays and water play.

The cancer foundation recommends that we Slip on a shirt (long sleeve cotton is best), Slop on some sunscreen and Slap on a hat as well as trying to stay out of the sun between the hours of 11am and 3pm. Using UV protective Swimwear is also advisable

The question of which sunscreen to use on little ones is common among parents. Most sunscreen has chemical absorbers in it to absorb the suns UV rays. The sun protection factor (SPF) is dependent on the amount and type of chemical in the sunscreen. These chemicals may cause allergic reactions in those people with sensitive skin. Other types of sunscreen act as a physical barrier by reflecting the suns rays away from the skin. These usually contain no chemical absorbers.

In general it is best to use a "low irritant" barrier sunscreen for infants under 12 months or for any toddler, child or adult with sensitive skin. Toddler sunscreens usually contain some chemical absorbers in a mild formulation and can be used once the child is 12 months old. When applying any lotions to baby's skin it is always a good practise to apply a small amount of the product to baby's inside forearm in advance and check that area for any signs of irritation. If irritation develops discontinue use.

Children are naturally attracted to water and often have little fear of it and no understanding or awareness of the dangers it can bring. Our Australian lifestyle means that water sports and activities form much of our relaxation on weekends.

Drowning is the most common cause of deaths in Australian children aged between 0 and 4.

A child can drown in as little as 5cms of water and in as little time as 2 minutes. Prevention is the only solution. Constant adult supervision around any form of water is essential. Some other precautions are listed below.

  • Fence your swimming pool with an isolation fence and ensure that any gates are functioning correctly. Pool fences should comply with the Australian Standards AS 1926.
  • Familiarise your children with water start swimming classes. These are an important start to your child's water awareness but will not make them drown proof.
  • Learn resuscitation methods and keep your qualifications updated. The first few minutes in an emergency situation are vital and can make the difference between life and death.
  • Always keep emergency numbers by your phone.