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Spring and Summer Safety Tips

With the cold, dark days of winter behind us, the warmth of spring brings us all outside for fun in the sun.

Keep your family safe while on spring break, a summer trip or just hanging out in the yard by following the safety tips for the following topics:
Ant bites
Beach Safety
Dog bites
Plant Safety
Spider Bites
Sports and Recreational Injuries
Stinging Insects
Sun Safety

Ant bites

1. Watch your step of course and if a fire ant mound is disturbed remove your child quickly as fire ants are aggressive and a mound will come alive quickly.
2. Know your surroundings: Fire ants prefer warm, sunny areas and can appear along a sidewalk, the base of a tree and even a playground or park.
3. Schedule a professional treatment if you find fire ant mounds on your property. To find a professional logon to nofireants.com.

For more information, click on Ant bites.

Beach Safety

  1. Have your child drink plenty of water, non-carbonated and non-alcoholic drinks, even if they do not feel thirsty.
  2. Stay within the designated swimming area and ideally within the visibility of a lifeguard.
  3. Never swim alone.
  4. Be aware of rip currents. If you should get caught in a current, don’t try to swim against it. Swim parallel to shore until clear of the current.
  5. Seek shelter in case of storm. Get out of the water and off the beach in case of lightning.


a.  Recognize the signs and symptoms of dehydration in a child:

  • Urinates less frequently
  • No tears when crying
  • Dry, sticky mouth or tongue
  • Thirst
  • Headache
  • Sunken eyes
  • Sunken soft spot on the front of the head in babies (called the fontanel)
  • Lethargy (less active than normal)
  • Irritability (more crying, fussiness)
  • Darken urine (should be clear or very pale yellow)

b.  Know how to prevent dehydration in a child:

  • Ways to prevent dehydration may differ depending on the age of the child and the condition causing the dehydration.
  • On a hot, dry day have your child start drinking before thirst develops and they should rest from activity in a cool, shaded place until the lost fluid has been replaced.
  • Stay well hydrated by drinking enough water or sports drinks before, during and after each practice or game.
  • Drink small amounts frequently (i.e. 1 cup every 15-20 minutes) to avoid stomach cramps

For more information, click on Dehydration.

Dog Bites

The general rule for parents is not to leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.

The following 10 rules can lessen the risk of your child being bitten by a dog:

DO NOT go near an unfamiliar dog.

DO NOT sneak up on a dog.

DO NOT tease, hit, or pull on a dog.

DO NOT disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies. 

DO NOT go near a growling dog or one that is showing its teeth. 

DO NOT pet a dog without asking the owner’s permission. 

DO NOT run up to or scream around a dog. 

DO NOT run past a dog that may get them excited and aggressive. 

DO NOT move if a dog sniffs or approaches you – stay calm even if not threatened. 

DO NOT try to get up and run if knocked down – curl up in a ball  and put your hands over your face and head.




For more information, click on Dog bites.


Here are 10 safety tips:

  1. Never leave your children alone in or near the pool, even for a moment.
  2. You must put up a fence to separate your house from the pool. Most young children who drown in pools wander out of the house and fall into the pool. Install a fence at least 4 feet high around all 4 sides of the pool.
  3. Use gates that self-close and self-latch, with latches higher than your children’s reach.
  4. A power safety cover that meets the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) adds to the protection of your children but should not be used in place of the fence between your house and the pool.
  5. Keep rescue equipment (such as a shepherd’s hook or life preserver) by the pool.
  6. Do not let your child use air-filled “swimming aids” because they are not a substitute for approved life vests and can be dangerous.
  7. Anyone watching young children around a pool should learn CPR and be able to rescue a child if needed.
  8. Stay within an arm’s length of your child.
  9. Remove all toys from the pool after use so children aren’t tempted to reach for them.
  10. After the children are done swimming, secure the pool so they can’t get back into it.

Remember, teaching your child how to swim DOES NOT mean your child is safe in water.

And also, even fencing around your pool and using a power safety cover will not prevent all drownings.

For more information, click on Drowning.

Plant Safety

To help prevent plant poisonings, follow these 12 safety tips:

  1. Before buying a new plant, have the store label the plant with the common and Latin name.  Poison Center staff cannot identify a plant from a plant description given over the phone.
  2. Know the names of all the plants in your home and yard. If you need help
    identifying a plant, take a piece of it to a nursery, florist, or your county
    extension agent.
  3. Show grandparents and babysitters where to find the plant names. Grandparents and babysitters who care for your child away from your home should also know the names of the plants in their homes.
  4. Keep house plants, seeds, and bulbs out of the reach and sight of children and
  5. Teach your children to never put any part of a plant into their mouths.
  6. Do not eat wild plants or mushrooms. Cooking poisonous plants does not make them
    safe to eat.
  7. Never use anything prepared wild from nature as a “natural” medicine or tea.
  8. Keep weed and bug killers in a locked cabinet, out of the reach of children and
    pets. Never put them in bottles used for drinking.
  9. Wear gloves and protective clothing when handling plants that can be irritating to the skin. Wash hands and clothes well afterwards.
  10. Smoke from burning poisonous plants (especially poison oak) can irritate the eyes, nose, throat and lungs.
  11. Keep the telephone number of your local Poison Control Center on or near your
    telephones (1-800-222-1222).
  12. If any part of a plant is eaten, remove as much of the plant as possible from
    the mouth and call your local Poison Control Center right away!  Do not wait for the
    victim to look or feel sick.

For more information, click on Plant poisoning.


  1. During the summer and early fall, extra precaution should be taken when a child is playing outdoors.
  2. Avoid letting them play in tall grass or swamps and placing their hands into deep holes in the ground.
  3. If you have to move through tall grass or weeds, poke at the ground in front of you with a long stick to scare away any snakes.
  4. Watch where they step and where they sit when outdoors.
  5. If they should play in the woods or near a swamp, they should preferably wear long pants with some type of boots.
  6. Victims of snakebites are often young, intoxicated males who tease a snake or try to capture it.  Its best if this behavior can be avoided.
  7. Be careful not to handle a dead snake. Recently killed snakes may still bite by reflex several hours after death.

For more information, click on Snakebites.

Spider bites

  1. Avoid wood or rock piles and dark areas where spiders live.
  2. Inspect their area of play first if in places such as a basement, closet or playhouse in the yard.
  3. Watch where they sit when in areas of high risk.
  4. Teach your child to avoid playing with spider webs.
  5. Shake out their shoes for spiders before putting them on.
  6. If they are to play in areas where a spider is likely to be then they should preferably wear long pants with shoes.

For more information, click on Spider bites.

Sports and Recreational Injuries

Physical checkup

To make sure your child is physically fit to participate in a particular sport, take him or her to the doctor for a physical exam. These physicals can reveal your childs physical strengths and weaknesses, find out any special injury risks your child may have, and help determine which sports are appropriate.


The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children begin participating in team sports at age 6, when they better understand the concept of teamwork. However, some young children may not be ready physically or psychologically to take part in a team sport even at age 6.

With older children, you should decide if its OK for them to play based on their physical and emotional development and their eagerness to play.

Children who play a sport before theyre ready, or when they dont want to, are at increased risk of getting hurt.

A parent should base his/her decision on whether to allow the child to take part in a particular sport based on the following:
- age
- weight
- build
- physical and emotional development
- childs interest in the sport

Proper Preparation

To make sure that your child has fun and is at a lower risk for injury, make sure that your child knows how to play the sport before putting him or her out on the field.

Your child should be adequately prepared with warm-ups and stretch before playing, paying special attention to the muscles that will get the most use during play.
Maintenance of playing surfaces

Shock-absorbent surfaces (e.g., running track) lead to fewer injuries.

Check that playing fields are not full of holes or debris that might cause kids to fall or trip.
Use of Proper Equipment

Its important for your child to use the proper, approved equipment and safety gear that is the correct size and fits well. For example, helmets are essential when bicycle riding or skateboarding.

Your childs coach or a sporting goods expert should guide you on the appropriate protective equipment (e.g., pads, helmets) for each sport.

The safety gear worn by a child should fit properly.

Sports equipment should be in good working condition and any damage should be repaired or replaced.

Wear athletic shoes that fit well and are in good condition.
Adequate adult supervision

Any team sport or activity that your child participates in should be supervised by responsible and qualified adults.

The team coach should have training in first aid and CPR.

First aid should be available at all practices and games.

The coachs philosophy should support players safety.

The coach should enforce playing rules, encourage safe play, and require that safety equipment be used at all times.
Avoid dehydration

Stay well hydrated by drinking enough water or sports drinks before, during and after each practice or game.

Drink small amounts frequently (i.e. 1 cup every 15-20 minutes) to avoid stomach cramps

Dehydration can cause exhaustion and increase the chance of injury.

Other ways to prevent overuse injuries

Teach your child not to play through pain. If your child gets injured, see your pediatrician.

Take time to recover properly and only return to play if OK’d by your doctor.

Start your child out slowly with any new physical activity and gradually increase their training program or activity.

For more information, click on Sports and Recreational Injuries.

Stinging Insects

(e.g., bee, wasp)

  1. To avoid being stung, stay away from places where stinging insects are found such as around flowers, garbage cans, picnic grounds, and other places food is kept.
  2. Be aware of surroundings. Listen for buzzing and look for nests or hives.
  3. While you are walking in grassy areas or doing yard work, wear long pants, long sleeves, a hat, gloves, and shoes.
  4. Do not go barefoot on lawns with flowering plants nearby, or wear open toed sandals, as you risk a painful sting on the foot.
  5. Wear light-colored clothing. Dark blue and black seem to attract attack.
  6. Carry protection. Use a flying insect killer with a long-range spray only when necessary, as injured insects send out pheronomes which attract others to their defense. Though repellents arent effective against bees or wasps, the continuous flow of air from an aerosol spray can may confuse them, giving you time to escape.
  7. If attacked, place your hands and forearms across your head to protect your eyes, throat and neck. Brush insects off the skin with a sideways motion. Move away quickly and quietly, as agitated movement and noise can irritate the insects and evoke further attacks.
  8. Remove and destroy nests, if necessary, at night when the insects are not active. If doing so, use flying insect killer liberally to soak the nest before you start and during the removal. Do not stand below a nest you are removing, with or without flying insect killer use. Either way, injured insects may fall out of the nest, ready to sting anything they come into contact with. They may not be able to fly, but they can still give a painful sting to the first thing they contact, especially an upturned face.
  9. Dont wear strong perfumes or cosmetics, particularly floral-scented ones, which can attract bees and wasps.
  10. Dont leave opened cans of sweet drinks or beer standing around. Always check before drinking from an open container, even if it contains only water.

For more information, click on Stinging insects.

Sun Safety

  • The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Try to minimize children’s time in the sun during those hours.
  • The sun’s damaging UV rays can bounce back from sand, snow or concrete; so be particularly careful of these areas.
  • Most of the sun’s rays can come through the clouds on an overcast day; so use sun protection even on cloudy days.
  • Babies under 6 months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight. Move your baby to the shade under a tree, umbrella or stroller canopy.
  • Dress babies in lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs, and use brimmed hats.
  • When choosing a sunscreen, look for the words “broad-spectrum” on the label – it means that the sunscreen will screen out both ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays.
  • Choose a water-resistant or waterproof sunscreen and reapply every two hours.
  • Use a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.
  • Apply carefully around the eyes, avoiding eyelids.
  • Zinc oxide, a very effective sunblock, can be used as extra protection on the nose, cheeks, tops of the ears and on the shoulders.
  • Rub sunscreen in well, making sure to cover all exposed areas, especially the face, nose, ears, feet and hands, and even the backs of the knees.
  • Put on sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors — it needs time to work on the skin.
  • Sunglasses with UV protection are also a good idea for protecting your child’s eyes.
  • Select clothes made of tightly woven fabrics. Cotton clothing is both cool and protective.


Limiting exposure to ticks is the most effective way to reduce the likelihood of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or Lyme disease.


Avoid walking in tall grass or thick ground cover.

In the woods or wilderness, try to stay on cleared trails

What to wear

Wear light-colored clothing outdoors to help spot ticks.

Wear long sleeves and long pants tucked into your socks or boots.

Use a hat for added protection.

Don’t wear sandals or other open-toed shoes.

Use repellents

If you can get it, spray a repellent containing permethrin on your clothes (not the skin)

Also, protect your pets by using flea and tick sprays and collars.

Talk to your veterinarian about getting your pets vaccinated against Lyme disease.

Be careful when using repellents that contain DEET in kids

Important note:

1.  DEET is absorbed through the skin.

2.  In high concentrations, DEET can have harmful side effects

3.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that repellents with no more than 6 to 10% DEET be applied to children over the age of two.


After being outdoors, check your child’s body and hair for ticks.  You can use a fine-tooth comb to find ticks in hair.

Check the pets too.

For more information, click on Ticks.

Have a safe spring and summer!!