From the Town’s County Sheriff’s DeskJuly 26 | Posted by editor | News, Towns Tags: Towns County Sheriff Office
Hiawassee, GA – During the summer months there are special considerations when it comes to keeping your children safe. With all the outdoor activities that involve being outdoors and sometimes water, I felt it would be a good idea to spend a couple of weeks discussing some things you can do to keep your child safe. The following tips are based on recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). It is my hope that you will find them to be useful.
When dealing with sun exposure the AAP recommends that, whenever possible, infants should be dressed in lightweight, long pants and long sleeves, with brimmed hats that shade the neck, as well as keeping them in the shade and out of the sun. The AAP recommends applying a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least an SPF of 15 to the backs of hands and face. In my opinion, infants can get sunburned very easily and one should minimize their exposure to direct sunlight.
For all other children AAP recommends that the best protection against harmful ultraviolet radiation is to cover up. Wear a hat with a three inch brim or a bill that faces forward. AAP also recommends sunglasses. Look for ones that provide 97-100% protection against both UVA and UVB. Cotton Clothing with a tight weave is recommended.
AAP recommends that children stay in the shade whenever possible and that exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. should be very limited. Always apply a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 that protects against UVA and UVB rays. Always be sure to apply enough sunscreen and to reapply every two hours, or after swimming or sweating a lot. Use extra caution near water, or sand which, like snow, reflect UV rays and can cause sunburn more quickly.
One area of real concern is heat related illness in exercising children. The intensity of activities that last 15 minutes or more should be reduced anytime that high heat and humidity level reach critical levels. Before any prolonged activity children should be well-hydrated and not thirsty. Water or a sports drink should be available and children should have a drink at least every 20 minutes, while water alone works well during the first hour of exercise. According to the AAP, “Excessively hot and humid environments, more prolonged and strenuous exercise, and copious sweating should be reasons for children to substantially increase their fluid intake. After an hour of exercise, children need to drink a carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage to replace electrolytes lost in sweat and provide carbohydrates for energy.”
Clothing should be light-colored and lightweight and should be limited to a single layer of absorbent material to help with the evaporation of sweat. It is recommended that shirts that are sweat saturated be replaced with a dry shirt. Practices and games played when the heat and humidity are high should be shortened with more frequent water/hydration breaks. If a child becomes excessively hot or fatigued they should seek cooler environments immediately.
Boating is a very popular summer activity, but also requires some safety precautions. Children should always wear life jackets whenever on boats or near any body of water. Parents or guardians should make sure the life jacket is the right size for the child. The jacket should not be loose. It should always be worn in compliance with instructions with all fasteners securely fastened.
Blow up water wings, toys, rafts and air mattresses should not be used as life saving devices. Adults should also wear life vests, not only to set an example, but also for protection. Boating under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, and certain prescription medications can be very dangerous and adults and adolescents need to be aware of this danger.
The Towns County Sheriff’s Office’s Marine Patrol Unit will be out on Lake Chatuge periodically throughout the summer months helping to keep boaters safe. If you need assistance navigating boating laws, please call our office at 706/896-4444.