Category Archives: swimming


As the summer gets going into full swing with Independence Day weekend, days by the pool and in the backyard, and lots of sports, sun exposure is always a concern.

How do you keep your kids healthy, happy and sunburn-free while still giving them lots of time outdoors?  And when sunburn does occur, how should you treat it?

Prevention.  Check out our blog from last summer about sunscreens here.  Bottom line:  use sunscreen liberally and limit sun exposure.  You don’t have to get a sunburn to cause long-term skin damage.

Babies and toddlers.  See this detailed article from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).  Very young children are especially vulnerable to sunburn and heat stroke.  Under 6 months they should be kept out of direct sunlight and in the shade as much as possible.  Use the sun cover on the stroller.  Take a canopy to the older kids’ soccer games—it’s not only a good place to put the infant, but the rest of the family can get out of the sun, too.  Be aware that reflective surfaces, like sand or the concrete around pools, can still allow for sunburn even when you’re under an umbrella or other cover, no matter what your age.

In addition to limiting time outside in the hot part of the day, here are other considerations for the very young:

  • Dress them in lightweight, light colored clothing that covers arms, legs and the head.
  • Use sunscreen on any exposed skin.  There are several types that are appropriate for tender baby skin.  Don’t ever spray directly onto the face, but into your hand first.
  • Put a brimmed hat on babies and toddlers, or spray their scalps with sunscreen.  A fully-brimmed hat can protect scalp, ears, and partially protect face and neck.

Possible skin damage.  Don’t forget that everyone, even those with darker skin, are at risk of skin damage from the sun.  Exposure over time can lead to skin cancers later.

Treatment.  Sooner or later, most everyone will have a sunburn no matter how hard you try to prevent it.  What to do?  It depends on the severity.

  • Minor burns (red, warm to the touch) can be treated with cool compresses, acetaminophen and rest.
  • More serious burns can cause blisters, fever and chills, headache or other feelings of malaise, even infection.  If the burn is very serious, call your pediatrician.

So, by all means enjoy the summer sun, just be careful of getting too much exposure!

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Swim safely!

Though it’s been so rainy here lately you could almost go boating in your back yard, it IS summer, and we know that hot days will return and the kids (and grownups!) will want to go to the pool to cool down.

Of course, you want your family to be safe, so here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re swimming this summer.

  • Make sure your children learn how to swim, but don’t become overconfident of their abilities.  The American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) recommendation is that children age 4 and older should have formal swim lessons.  (See their specific advice here.)  Those at highest risk of drowning are toddlers and teenaged boys.
  • Don’t dive into anything shallow, or where you can’t see the bottom.  This includes ponds and creeks, but also pools that have become cloudy.  Spinal cord or other serious injuries can result.
  • Follow the rules set by lifeguards.  It’s their job to protect your safety while you have fun with your friends.
  • Never allow any child to swim unsupervised.  A responsible adult should always be present, even if it’s just at a wading pool.  Don’t leave a wading pool with water in it.
  • If you have an in-ground or above-ground pool, make sure it’s properly fenced and that the gate is locked.  No matter how much you tell your children not to go into the pool area alone, it can be very tempting!

That AAP article cited above contains good information about lifejackets, boating, lakes, and piers.  It also spells out more about fencing, swim lessons for children younger than 4, and other water safety specifics.  Check it out.

Stay cool this summer, and be safe!

Joel, age 10

Joel, age 10


© 2013, Melissa Bane Sevier