by Dr. Rachel McGuffey, Lexington Clinic Pediatrics
With warmer weather here, we will all want to spend more time outdoors. And as we spend more time under the sun, sunscreen becomes very important…even for your babies. For infants less than 6 months of age, it is best to avoid long sun exposure. Infants should be protected from direct sun exposure through umbrellas, light clothing that covers the skin, hats and/or remaining indoors during the height of the sun, when UV rays are strongest and most harmful. For children over the age of 6 months, apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 to protect against UVA and UVB light before going outdoors. And remember to apply this frequently, especially when swimming since water and sweat exposure will cause the sunscreen to wear off over time.
In the warmer months, mosquitos and other insects begin to emerge as well. For children over the age of 2 months, use an insect repellant when outdoors during the warm summer months. There are many DEET products, as well as DEET-free products available. Follow the instructions on the product for safe usage as the application/reapplication may vary for different products.
Pool safety is also a great concern during summer and requires your full attention. If you have a pool in your yard, make sure it is enclosed with a fence at least 4 feet tall and a locked gate. This enclosure protects not only your children but also other children in the neighborhood who may think it would be fun to take a splash. When using a baby pool, always be present and watch your little one…and empty the water when not in use. It is a good idea to get swimming lessons; however, this should not be a substitute for watching your child. Again, never leave your child unattended around any body of water.
For children riding bicycles, scooters, skates and other wheeled objects ensure that they have proper safety gear that is the right size for the rider. For bicycle riders, a helmet is a necessity. For other wheeled objects, a helmet in addition to knee and elbow pads is a good idea. This will help protect from skinned knees and arms and head injuries that occur with falls. Add another layer to your child’s skills by providing safety lessons and practice.
Summer is a great time to get out and have fun with your child. Just remember to follow the above guidelines to help your child have a safe and exciting summer!
Rachel McGuffey, MD is board-certified in pediatrics. She provides primary care for children, childhood immunizations, well-child physicals, and school and sports physicals. Dr. McGuffey’s professional interest is general pediatrics.
Dr. McGuffey is accepting new patients. She offers complementary prenatal visits, both in-person and via telehealth, for expecting parents to meet her and discuss any questions or concerns ahead of their baby’s delivery.
Dr. McGuffey may be reached at (859) 258-5141.