School is out and it’s officially SUMMERTIME! Bring on the fun in the sun but let’s make sure to remain SAFE while doing so. Summertime means more time outside whether it is relaxing at the beach or lake or simply riding bikes and exploring the great outdoors. In Alabama, we are blessed with beautiful scenery and plenty of SUNSHINE but we must take precaution as too much of anything can be a bad thing. Here are a few things to keep in mind as we have fun but stay safe this summer:

Sun Protection
* Minimize sun exposure during peak sun hours (10 AM – 6 PM).
* Wear protective clothing and a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses (with 99-100% UV protection).
* Sunscreen is a must (on sunny and cloudy days)! Look for products with UVA and UVB protection and an SPF of at least 15 (according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and American * Association of Dermatology).
Sunscreen should be applied about 30 minutes before going out in the sun, and reapplied every two hours or sooner if * swimming, sweating.
Water Safety
* Tragically though, over 200 young children drown in backyard swimming pools each year.
* Adult supervision is of utmost importance, be mindful of distractions!
* Practice “touch supervision” (a term used by the American * Academy of Pediatrics). This means that at all times, the supervising adult is within an arm’s length of the child being watched, when near or in the water.
* Remember, no child or adult is “drown proof.”
* Keep in mind that children can drown in many different water sources including: bathtubs, toilets, buckets, baby pools, backyard swimming pools, community pools, streams, creeks, lakes, rivers, oceans and other places.
* Establish and enforce rules and safe behaviors, such as “no diving,” “stay away from drain covers,” “swim with a buddy” and “walk please.”
* Ensure all family member knows how to respond to water emergencies
* Secure your pool- surround completely with a minimum 4-feet high fence or barrier with a self-closing, self-latching gate. * Place a safety cover on the pool or hot tub when not in use and remove any ladders or steps used for access. Consider installing a pool alarm that goes off if anyone enters the pool.
Dehydration and Heat-Related Illnesses
* Keeping well hydrated is very important.
* Children (and adults) must remember to drink.
* Do not wait until a child says he is thirsty before offering fluids. At this point, he is already dehydrated, so be sure to provide plenty of fluids before going outside, while out in the heat and afterwards.
* Playing in the hot summer sun means lots of fluid losses, so avoid strenuous activity during peak sun hours (10 am- 6 pm). * Look for shade and take lots of breaks.
* Seek medical attention immediately for any signs of heat-related illness.
Summer First Aid Kit
* Every family should have at least one first aid kit at home which is well stocked and readily accessible.
* It’s also helpful to keep a first aid kit in the car and one take on trips.
* Kids get lots of cuts and scrapes during the warm summer months, so it’s nice to be prepared.
* Don’t forget to restock the kit once an item has been used.
* Be sure to keep a list of emergency numbers where they are easy to find. This list should include: emergency medical services (911), the doctor’s number, the dentist’s number, poison control, a number where mom and/or dad can be reached and any other important phone numbers.
Now let’s enjoy some fun in the sun 
~Dr. Congress