by Dr. Alyssa Huncken
As one of the most challenging school years our children have experienced is coming to an end, spending time outside will be more important than ever. Spring, sun, warmer weather and longer days mean many exciting things including exploring the outdoors, going on picnics, and trading in the puffy winter coat for short-sleeved shirts and shorts. How can we make sure our children are safe this summer?
Be Sun Smart: Simple Ways to Protect Your Family from the Sun
This time of year means being extra vigilant about sun safety and biting insects. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun is the most preventable cause of skin cancer and one-quarter of our lifetime sun exposure happens during childhood and adolescence.
Staying hydrated during sports, exercise or heat
Being active is an important lifestyle choice for every member of the family. While playing outside, encourage frequent water breaks to prevent dehydration. This is especially important on hotter days when children are running or playing sports outdoors.
Staying properly hydrated keeps the body and mind running efficiently and feeling strong. Serve water with meals and snacks and take a few extra minutes to pack the water bottles before your family heads out the door. Helping your children choose water first, and modeling this choice yourself, builds healthy habits that will pay dividends for a lifetime.
Children are more likely to use safe habits if their parents model the good behavior. Be sure to wear your helmet when biking or skating with your children. Your child should wear a helmet anytime they are on anything with wheels — this includes bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades/skates, or scooters.
There are many creative ways to decorate your child’s helmet to make it more personal, more fun, and more likely to be worn.
It is extremely important to make sure your child has the right size helmet and wears it every time when riding, skating or scooting.
Choosing a Properly Fitting Helmet
Staying Safe — In and Around the Water
Swimming is a fantastic form of exercise and a major component of summer vacation fun, but parents should remember that swimming also comes with risk. Drowning is the second leading cause of death in children 1-4 years old. It is necessary to create layers of protection while enjoying time with young children near pools, oceans, or lakes. Here are some safety tips to keep your children safe around the water this summer:
Summer Bug Safety: Tips to Stay Bite-Free
Biting insect populations tend to soar with the warmer temperatures. Mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects can transmit diseases including West Nile Virus (WNV) and Lyme disease. No need to worry! There are ways to keep children safe and still enjoy the outdoors. Staying extra vigilant about biting insects this time of year will help keep you and your family safe from bug bites.
COVID-19 and the Outdoors
It is now known that COVID-19 transmission is significantly lower outdoors than indoors, however, it is still important to keep socially distanced when possible and avoid large crowds regardless of vaccination status.
Summer’s long, warm days provide kids many outdoor opportunities for play, relaxation, and recreation. Time spent in the great outdoors requires being mindful of children’s health and safety to prevent harmful injuries, so that you and your family can focus on creating happy, fond memories.
Your team at Changebridge Medical Associates, a member of Consensus Heath, is here for you and your family to help your child stay safe and healthy throughout the summer season and beyond. We wish you and your family a summer season filled with fun, safe activities that create enjoyable memories.
Dr. Alyssa Huncken is a Physician at Changebridge Medical Associates, a member of Consensus Health, in Montville. Dr. Huncken, a Montville native, returned home to practicing medicine in her hometown community in December 2020. A graduate of Montville High School, Alyssa went on to obtain her Bachelors of Science degree from Fordham University. She attended the Columbia University Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program, where Alyssa developed her mission to serving others. Alyssa returned to New Jersey where she received her Doctorate degree from Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and completed her Residency at the Atlantic Health Overlook Family Medicine program. During her residency she was awarded the Anthony F. Coppola MD Clinical Excellence Award, which is presented to the family medicine resident whose clinical care consistently represents the highest ideals of family medicine.