School’s out for the summer, so safety considerations shift as kids spend more time at home, on their wheels and near the water.

Grant Clinkingbeard, MD, pediatrician with Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health in Covington, shares safety tips to make this your best — and safest — summer ever!

Be a Water Watcher

As the temperature rises, families will cool off in pools, lakes, beaches and oceans this summer. Water can be dangerous when there is no supervision involved. Drowning can be silent and fast. When kids are in and around water, no matter the depth or amount, an adult must be actively supervising.

In addition to grown-ups taking turns as a water watcher, Dr. Clinkingbeard recommends parents invest in swim lessons, choose brightly colored swimsuits and keep wheeled toys away from water. Make sure everyone wears a life jacket when you’re on a boat.

Safety on Wheels

When it’s time to hit the trails on an ATV, safety needs to come first. Safety guidelines for kids using ATVs are pretty straightforward. Keep these tips from Dr. Clinkingbeard in mind:

  • Always wear a helmet and other protective gear
  • Riders younger than 12 need adult supervision
  • Kids need an appropriately sized ATV; most injuries happen because kids are on a vehicle that’s too big.
  • Keep ATVs off open roads and away from other vehicles.

Keep Kids Hydrated

Staying hydrated is especially important when it’s hot outside. And in South Louisiana, it gets HOT. Dr. Clinkingbeard shares these tips to keep kids feeling their best all summer:

When kids are playing outside, even when keeping cool in the pool, they can be thirsty and don’t always realize it.

Water is the best drink to offer, but popsicles also work.

Hydrating fruit like watermelon and berries or veggies with lots of water can keep kids hydrated too.

Sunburn Prevention

Families are outside a lot in the summer, but you don’t have to get sunburns. Dr. Clinkingbeard offers these reminders about the best ways to use sunscreen:

  • Use sunscreen on kids and babies older than 6 months – apply it 15-30 minutes before going outside.
  • Choose one with an SPF rating of 30 or higher that’s water-resistant and broad-spectrum coverage.
  • Spray or lotion sunscreens both work — make sure to use enough and rub it in for full coverage.
  • Reapply every 2 hours, after swimming or toweling off.

Avoid Other Burns Too

Summer celebrations can often include fireworks. Use these safety tips from Dr. Clinkingbeard to keep everyone safe while enjoying the show:

  • Leave fireworks to the adults or enjoy a professional fireworks show.
  • Consider glow sticks or confetti poppers to bring the fun into kids’ hands.
  • Adults should light fireworks one at a time in an open area away from trees and houses
  • Keep observers at a safe distance and always have a bucket of water nearby.

(An informative health and wellness article from the Chamber’s Live Better St. Tammany Committee member Our Lady of the Lake Health.)