Keeping Your Children Safe During Summer
Summer time usually includes traveling time for so many families across the country. Whether your summer adventures are on the road, in the air, or just preparing for family and friends to visit, here are a few tips to help you travel safely over the summer:
ON THE PLANE
Don’t Forget the Car Seat. Flying can be an incredible experience for children – either for the first time or as a repeat explorer. If you’re planning to travel by air this summer, be sure to bring your child’s car seat onto the plane. Check to make sure the car seat is labelled “certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.” For babies and toddlers, this is the safest way to travel.
Make Time Fly. Before you head down the runway, make sure you bring plenty of books, games and drawing supplies for young children. You might need more than you think to keep your little traveller occupied. When you’re in the air, it’s the perfect time to connect over a game of Go Fish or Mastermind.
Pre-Fight Planning Tips:
- Sassy Mama – Travel Blog: Flying with Kids made easy
- The Emirates Group – Special Services
- Emirates Airlines – How do I make arrangments for special needs and/or assistance?
- Emirate Airlines – What if I have special medication that I must carry with me?
- A Special Needs Pre-Flight Checklist
- IATA Guidance – Safety of Infants & Children on Board
CAR & ROAD SAFETY
Children are VIPs – just ask them. VIPs ride in the back seat, so keep all children in the back seat until they are 13.
Road injuries are the leading cause of unintentional deaths to children and correctly used child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71%. But did you know that almost 73% of car seats are not used or installed correctly, so before you hit the road, check your car seat. Also be wary of Toys. Some toys can injure your child in a crash, so be extra careful to choose ones that are soft and will not hurt your child. A small, loose toy can be dangerous and injure your baby in a crash. Secure loose objects and toys to protect everyone in the car.
CAR SEAT SAFETY TIPS
Engineers are working hard to ensure that cars and car seats are designed to keep children as safe as possible. But it’s up to every parent to take full advantage of these innovations by making sure car seats and booster seats are used and installed correctly. Here’s what you need to know to ensure that your most precious cargo is safe in cars.
While it may seem like you need an engineering degree to figure out which car seat is best for your child, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Read more tips and we’ll help you pick the right seat for your child’s age, weight, height and developmental stage.
Is your child’s car seat registered?
Parents can register their new or currently used car seat, ensuring that they are promptly notified about future recalls and guided through the repair process. Register online with your car seat manufacturer, using the information found on the information sticker on your car seat. Fill out the registration card that came with your car seat. It’s pre-populated with your car seat’s information. Mail the card; no postage required. TIP: Take a photo of your car seat label and save it to your phone so you can have it handy.
Choose the Right Direction: Rear- or Forward-Facing
For the best protection, keep your baby in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible – until at least 2 years old. You can find the exact height and weight limit of your car seat on the side or back label. Children who ride in rear-facing seats have the best protection for the head, neck and spine. It is especially important for rear-facing children to ride in a back seat away from the airbag.
When your children outgrow a rear-facing seat around age 2, move them to a forward-facing car seat. Keep the seat in the back and make sure to attach the top tether after you tighten and lock the seat belt or lower attachments (LATCH). Many car seat labels will tell you exactly how much your child can weigh and still use the lower attachments and top tether. Unhook the lower attachments and use the seat belt once your child reaches the lower attachment weight limit. Check both your child restraint and vehicle manuals to see if there is a weight limit for the top tether. If they both agree to a higher weight, it is fine to follow their directions.
Some forward-facing car seats have harnesses for larger children. Check labels to find the exact height and weight limits for your seat. Discontinue use of the lower attachments or top tether when your child reaches the limits set by your car seat and car manufacturers. You must read both manuals to know about those limits. Not to worry: Once your child meets the lower attachment weight limits, you will switch to a seat belt. Seat belts are made to protect very heavy adults as well as children in car seats and booster seats.
Check the Label
Look at the label on your car seat to make sure it’s appropriate for your child’s age, weight, height and development. Your car seat has an expiration date – usually around six years. Find the label and double check to make sure it’s still safe. Discard a seat that is expired in a dark trash bag so that it cannot be pulled from the trash and reused.
Know Your Car Seat’s History
Buy a used car seat only if you know its full crash history. That means you must buy it from someone you know, not from a thrift store or over the internet. Once a car seat has been in a crash or is expired or broken, it needs to be replaced.
Make Sure Your Car Seat is Installed Correctly
Inch Test. Once your car seat is installed, give it a good tug at the base where the seat belt goes through it. Can you move it more than an inch side to side or front to back? A properly installed seat will not move more than an inch.
Pinch Test. Make sure the harness is tightly buckled and coming from the correct slots (check your car seat manual). With the chest clip placed at armpit level, pinch the strap at your child’s shoulder. If you are unable to pinch any excess webbing, you’re good to go.
For both rear- and forward-facing child safety seats, use either the car’s seat belt or the lower attachments and for forward-facing seats, remember to add the top tether to lock the car seat in place. Don’t use both the lower attachments and seat belt at the same time. They are equally safe- so pick the one that gives you the best fit.
If you are having even the slightest trouble, questions or concerns, certified child passenger safety technicians are able to help or even double check your work. A certified technician can confirm your car seat is properly installed.
Check Your Car Seat
Most car seats are not used or installed correctly, so before you hit the road, check your car seat. Go to the car seat checklist below to help you out. It takes only 15 minutes. These checklists offers ways to make sure your car seat is right for your child and that the seat is installed properly. These tips are important because we know that when used correctly, child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent.
Learn how to install your car seat and search for a certified technician that can help to make sure your car seat is properly installed. You may find an inspection station with certified technicians at a dealership, a hospital, the police station or even a fire-station. They might teach you so that you can always be sure your car seat is used correctly.
Buy a used car seat only if you know its full crash history. That means you must buy it from someone you know, or a certified store and not from a stranger. Once a car seat has been in a crash, is missing parts, or is expired or broken, it needs to be replaced.
For more information, click here: https://www.safechildren.org/tip/car-seat-tips
When is it Time for a Booster Seat?
Safety in the car goes beyond your little ones. Children who have outgrown a forward-facing harness seat are NOT ready for a seat belt or front seat yet. They are safest in a booster seat that enables the adult seat belt to fit properly. Booster seats protect children who are too big for a car seat but too small for a seat belt. Seat belts don’t fit children properly until they are at least 57” (4’9”) tall and weigh between 80 and 100 pounds.
Take the next step to a booster seat when you answer “yes” to any of these questions:
- Does your child exceed the car seat’s height or weight limits?
- Are your child’s shoulders above the car seat’s top harness slots?
- Are the tops of your child’s ears above the top of the car seat?
If the car seat with a harness still fits and your child is within the weight and height limits, continue to use it until it is outgrown. It provides more protection than a booster seat or seat belt for a small child.
Use a booster seat with the vehicle lap AND shoulder safety belts until your child passes the Safety Belt Fit Test. Once your children pass the test, teach them the importance of using seat belts on every ride, whether they’re with you or not. This is a habit you can instill at an early age. If they learn this lesson early, they’ll be more likely to buckle up when they’re older or when you’re not around.
Even when children have outgrown booster seats, they are safest in the backseat until the age of 13.
Buckling up on every ride is the single most important thing a family can do to stay safe in the car. Here are a few tips to make buckling up a part of every car ride.
- Parents wearing a seat belt is not only a good example, but a safety issue in itself. Many children have been hit or crushed by adults in the car that have not restrained themselves. They are thrown around cars during accidents and increases the danger of a child becoming injured or killed. Buckling up on every ride is the single most important thing a family can do to stay safe in the car. Be sure everyone else in the vehicle buckles up, too.
- A lap and shoulder belt provides the best protection for your children and should be used on every ride.
- We know children like to slouch or lean against the windows during the drive, but it makes a difference in terms of safety. Have your children sit upright when using seat belts.
- Your children’s knees should bend at the edge of the seat when their backs and bottoms are against the vehicle seat.
- The vehicle lap belt should fit across the upper thighs.
- The shoulder belt should fit across the shoulder and chest.
- Children are usually between 8 and 12 years old when the seat belt fits them properly.
HEATSTROKE & BURNS
Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children. Never leave your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. While it may be tempting to dash out for a quick errand while your babies are sleeping peacefully in their car seats, the temperature inside your car can rise quickly and cause heatstroke in the time it takes for you to run in and out of the store. Leaving a child alone in a car is against the law in many US states and European countries.
Hot cars make car seats hot! Buckles and clips heat up to boiling in a car. Be sure to cover the seat and use window shades to keep the seat cool for your little ones. Many children get badly burnt from buckles every year. Check with your hand to test the temperature. Especially if you have non-verbal children, please check the buckle or any other surface to ensure it is not too hot before you buckle up your child. Even check the seat, window, side panels, any surface that your child could come in contact with.
AT A RELATIVE’S HOME
Talk Before you Walk. Staying with relatives can give parents much-needed time to relax, whether it’s sleeping in, grabbing a bite to eat or escaping to the movies. Before you do, talk to your relatives about being extra careful to keep small objects away from young children. This includes medications, which can look like candy, button batteries, magnets, small toys, and other objects that are small enough for children to swallow. Also mention the importance of supervision when your children are around water. Then go out, don’t worry and have fun.
Drowning happens fast. It is often quiet. A child slips under and the struggle is muffled by the surrounding water. Even children that are considered competent swimmers can drown. Babies can drown in a few inches of water. As a parent, these facts are hard to hear and the stories of loss are soul wrenching.
So what is a parent or caregiver to do? Here are 5 tips for families, whether at the pool, the beach or in the little plastic pool in the front yard.
- Watch children when they are in or around water, without being distracted. Keep young children within arm’s reach of an adult. Make sure older children swim with a partner every time.
- Teach children how to swim. Every child is different, so enroll children in swim lessons when they are ready. Consider their age, development and how often they are around water.
- Make sure children learn how to swim and develop these five water survival skills:
- step or jump into water over their heads and return to the surface;
- float or tread water for one minute;
- turn around in a full circle and find an exit;
- swim 25 yards to exit the water; and
- exit the water. If in a pool, be able to exit without using the ladder.
- Teach children that swimming in open water is not the same as swimming in a pool. They need to be aware of uneven surfaces, river currents, ocean undertow and changing weather.
- Know what to do in an emergency. Learning CPR and basic water rescue skills may help you save a life.
Use Protective Eyewear for your children. The skin around the eyes is vulnerable to UV damage too, so children should wear sunglasses starting at 6 months. Not all sunglasses provide the same level of ultraviolet protection; darkened plastic or glass lenses without special UV filters just trick the eyes into a false sense of safety. Look for child-size sunglasses that offer 99% – 100% UVA and UVB protection, and cover as much skin as possible (wrap-around styles are great), and are impact- or shatter-resistant.
Not all children enjoy wearing sunglasses, especially the first few times. To encourage them to wear them, let kids select a style they like — many manufacturers make fun, multi-coloured frames or ones embossed with cartoon characters. Don’t forget that children want to be like grown-ups. If you wear sunglasses regularly, your children may be willing to follow your example. Providing sunglasses early in childhood will encourage the habit of wearing them in the future.
The Basics of Sun Safety for your Child. Children’s skin is more delicate and vulnerable to UV rays compared to adults, so it’s important to keep them well protected when out in the sun. Every child needs sun protection. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends that all children — regardless of their skin tone — wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or 50. Although dark skin has more protective melanin and tans more easily than it burns, tanning is a sign of sun damage. Dark-skinned children also can get painful sunburns.
Because infants have thinner skin and underdeveloped melanin, their skin burns more easily than that of older children. The best protection for babies under 6 months of age is shade, so they should be kept out of the sun whenever possible. If your baby must be in the sun, dress him or her in clothing that covers the body, including hats with wide brims to shadow the face. Use an umbrella to create shade. If your baby is younger than 6 months old and still has small areas of skin (like the face) exposed, you can use a tiny amount of sunscreen with a minimum SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 on those areas.
With all the options available (organic or mineral? water-resistant or sweat-resistant? lotion or spray?), choosing a sunscreen for your child can be tricky. But what matters most is the degree of protection it provides from UV rays.
Things to consider:
- Look for SPF numbers on the labels of sunscreens. Select an SPF of 30 or higher to prevent sunburn and tanning. Choose a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays (usually labelled as a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen).
- Choose a sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide because the compounds are less irritating than others and do not get absorbed into the skin.
- Use fragrance-free sunscreen made with minimal preservatives to avoid allergic reactions.
- For sensitive skin, look for products with the active ingredient titanium dioxide
- Apply sunscreen when out in the sun.
- Apply it about 15 to 30 minutes before going outside.
- Use hats or caps to cover their ears and neck
- Use long-sleeved shirts, UV suit or rash vest and shorts to protect shoulders, backs, chests and the tops of their thighs.
- Try and keep children in the shade between 11am and 3pm.
- Use eye protection and encourage them to wear sunglasses
- Protect lips with an SPF 30 lip balm.
- Apply sunscreen generously, dermatologists recommend using 1 ounce to cover the exposed areas of the body.
- Reapply sunscreen often, about every 2 hours. Reapply after a child has been sweating or swimming.
- Apply a water-resistant sunscreen if child will be around water or swimming. Water reflects and intensifies the sun’s rays, so children need protection that lasts. Water-resistant sunscreens may last up to 80 minutes in the water, and some are also sweat-resistant. But regardless of the water-resistant label, be sure to reapply sunscreen when child comes out of the water.
- For all-day outdoor affairs, bring along a wide umbrella or a pop-up tent to play in.
Sunscreen products and ingredient to AVOID that can cause harm or allergic reaction to sensitive skin.
- Don’t’ use coloured or scented sunscreen
- Don’t use sunscreens with “para-aminobenzoic acid” (PABA)
- Avoid using sunscreens with “methylchloroisothiazolinone”
- Avoid using the ingredients “oxybenzone” and “retinyl palmitate” (a form of vitamin A), which may cause harm.
- Avoid the brand “Banana Boat” which often contains “tocopheryl acetate” a combination of vitamin E and acetic acid
- Even so-called “natural” plant-based ingredients like aloe, chamomile and feverfew may cause problems because they can act as “photo sensitizers,” causing some people to become more susceptible to the sun’s rays.
- Avoid using sprays which increases the risk of sunburn or they could cause an allergic reaction, they are also flammable, so you need to avoid sparks or flames when applying them and wearing them. And, sprays make it hard to tell if you have applied enough sunscreen.
Soothing a Sunburn
If your child gets sunburn and is active and playful and does not have any blisters, here’s how you can make him feel better.
- Place a cool compress on the sunburn.
- Apply aloe gel to the burned skin. Try placing the aloe in the fridge for a few minutes first before using.
- Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Check with your doctor for the correct dose.
- Give your child plenty of fluids.
- Do not use over-the-counter pain relieving products containing benzocaineon sun-burned skin. (These are called topical anesthetics.) They can often make the pain worse, and some people are allergic to the ingredient.
- If your child feels or looks ill, spikes a fever, or has blisters, get medical help.
More information available from these sources.
STAY SAFE, HAVE FUN! Have a great summer!
Please talk about these tips with your children and ask friends and parents to do the same.
Then enjoy the summer and remember to keep having fun.