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Atrium Health Navicent Pediatricians Offer Kid-Friendly Summer Safety Tips

Headed to the beach or pool with kids this summer? From SPF to CPR, Atrium Health Navicent pediatricians have shared their top health and safety recommendations to help the whole family enjoy fun in the sun.

Beach and Pool Essentials for Kids

Fill your beach bag with these essentials:

• Water

• Snacks

• Sunscreen (choose a broad-spectrum option with at least SPF 30)

• Flip-flops or sandals

• Wide-brimmed hats (baseball caps don’t provide adequate sun protection)

• Sunglasses with at least 99% UV protection

• Hand wipes to clean off sand before eating

• A small first aid kit for minor cuts and scrapes

• An umbrella for shade

• A whistle to call for help if needed

• Flotation devices, like a life jacket or puddle jumper, for little ones playing near the water who cannot swim

Sun Safety Tips for the Whole Family

Sunscreen is a must for every family member anytime you go outside, especially for beach and pool days. Pediatricians recommend applying broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with at least SPF 30 before going to the beach or pool.

Reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming, sweating or toweling off.

Note that babies under 6 months old shouldn’t wear sunscreen, as they are more susceptible to side effects, like rashes. Instead, protect your baby’s skin with a hat and sun-protective clothing and keep them in the shade.

In addition to staking out a shady spot, it’s important to try to avoid the beach during the hottest part of the day, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This can help minimize your exposure to intense sun and reduce the risk of heat-related illnesses. If sun exposure is unavoidable, apply a mineral-based sunscreen formula with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which are generally less irritating. Be sure to wash off the sunscreen at the end of the day.

Swimming Safety for Kids

Water safety and drowning prevention are such important topics, and summer is a great reminder of this. Swimming lessons, such as those offered at Atrium Health Navicent The Wellness Center, provide one level of protection against drowning, especially for young children.

In addition to signing them up for swimming lessons, teach your child these basic water safety rules:

• Swim near a lifeguard.

• Never get in the water without an adult present.

• Never dive headfirst into the water without knowing the depth of the water.

• Don’t engage in wrestling or rough play around the pool.

• Avoid swimming in water when there are rip current advisories.

• If you get caught in a rip current, remain calm and don’t try to fight against it. Float, wave and yell to get attention, or swim parallel to the shore (if you’re a good swimmer).

• If you see someone in a rip current, find a lifeguard for help, throw them a flotation device or offer them a reaching object. Never attempt to make the rescue on your own.

• Monitor the weather and stay out of the water if lightning is in the area or if you hear thunder.

“Children and weaker swimmers should wear life jackets in and around pools and other bodies of water, even if they know how to swim. Everyone, including children and adults, should wear US Coast Guard-approved life jackets whenever they are in open water or on watercraft. It’s also a good idea that all parents and caregivers learn CPR in case of an emergency,” said Dr. Yameika Head, clinical practice director of pediatrics at Atrium Health Navicent.

Even if your child knows how to swim, you should always designate an undistracted adult “water watcher” who can keep an eye on everyone at all times. Flotation devices are never a replacement for swim lessons and adult supervision.

Preventing Dehydration and Heat Sickness

It’s important to closely monitor children for signs of becoming overheated when spending time outdoors. Here are some ways to keep babies and kids safe in high temperatures:

• Ensure they’re well-hydrated and drink plenty of water (or breastmilk/formula for infants). Avoid sugary beverages.

• Encourage them to take breaks and rest indoors or in the shade.

• If it’s over 90 degrees outside, consider visiting the beach or pool on another day or keep your visit short.

• Dress them in loose-fitting, light-colored clothing.

Parents should be extra cautious with infants because they are often dressed in extra sun protective clothing and are not in the water. Call your pediatrician if you notice any of the following symptoms in a child or infant after spending time outdoors in the heat: extreme fatigue or unusual sleepiness, faintness, fever, headache, not urinating for several hours, nausea, vomiting, intense thirst, muscles aches or spasms, skin tingling or numbness, or breathing deeper or faster than usual.

To find a pediatrician, visit www.NavicentHealth.org and click “Find A Doctor.”

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of health care in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent is part of Advocate Health, which is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is the third-largest nonprofit health system in the United States, created from the combination of Atrium Health and Advocate Aurora Health. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit www.NavicentHealth.org.

About Advocate Health

Advocate Health is the third-largest nonprofit integrated health system in the United States – created from the combination of Advocate Aurora Health and Atrium Health. Providing care under the names Advocate Health Care in Illinois, Atrium Health in the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama, and Aurora Health Care in Wisconsin, Advocate Health is a national leader in clinical innovation, health outcomes, consumer experience and value-based care, with Wake Forest University School of Medicine serving as the academic core of the enterprise. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Advocate Health serves nearly 6 million patients and is engaged in hundreds of clinical trials and research studies. It is nationally recognized for its expertise in cardiology, neurosciences, oncology, pediatrics and rehabilitation, as well as organ transplants, burn treatments and specialized musculoskeletal programs. Advocate Health employs 155,000 team members across 69 hospitals and over 1,000 care locations and offers one of the nation’s largest graduate medical education programs with over 2,000 residents and fellows across more than 200 programs. Committed to equitable care for all, Advocate Health provides nearly $6 billion in annual community benefits.