Every summer the beach and pool become indispensable allies in withstanding high temperatures, especially if we have children. For the smaller ones, water play is at once a game, a distraction, and an activity that improves children’s motor, social, and psychological faculties. Water and sand also stimulate children’s senses since they are small and the water is very refreshing. Walking barefoot promotes muscle toning in feet and legs, and in the water almost all of the body’s muscles are activated.
Having children and enjoying the pleasures of summer are not incompatible, but we should take certain precautions. Taking the kids to the beach or pool is undoubtedly one of the most fun moments of the summer, but it also carries some stress. To avoid any problems in summer, here are a number of tips for enjoying the sun with children.
Kids under one year old shouldn’t be in direct sunlight or be exposed to high temperatures for long.
Always protect your child’s head with a hat to avoid sunstroke, even when they’re in the shade.
Another possible risk is heatstroke. Heat strokes occur because children are not able to regulate their temperature since they don't have the same cooling capacity as adults. Always ensure sufficient fluid intake.
Even in mildly warm weather, never leave your child unattended in a car. The temperature rises fast and the child’s body can’t cool itself down. This can lead to serious health problems and it can even be fatal.
Heat causes children to lose a lot of water, so they’re at risk of becoming dehydrated. They should drink a lot of liquids, preferably water. They should eat lots of fruit and veg that are rich in water.
Protect children’s eyes with sunglasses that block the damaging rays of the sun from their more sensitive retinas.
Take into account the water temperature. The higher it is, the longer children can be in it. If the water is cold, it’s best that swimming sessions are short and children get out of the water periodically to warm up.
When children are in water, never leave them unattended. Put your mobile away and don’t be tempted by the Wi-Fi at the swimming pool, because it’s very easy to get distracted.
Always avoid drastic temperature changes, especially with a full stomach.
If children like to dive or cliff jump, only let them do it in place you know perfectly well, because of hidden underwater rocks. Remember that when jumping, water can soak into the ear canal, causing otitis. Only go diving for a short time and let the sun dry their ears.
Use goggles at the pool - chlorine is very irritating to the eyes and can cause chemical conjunctivitis. The best cure here is prevention. But if it’s already too late, it’s recommended to cleanse with saline.
In very small babies, only use sunscreens specially made for them, because normal sunscreens can cause irritation and allergies. There are many brands on the market that offer swimwear with sun protection as well. These are specific clothes that protect babies’ skin that can be used while swimming, because the clothes dry quickly. These clothes are especially useful for older children who spend time playing in the water.
Before entering and after leaving the pool, take a shower to remove traces of dirt, creams, chlorine, etc.
A basic hygienic measure is to teach children to use the facilities at pools before swimming to avoid urinating in the water, another potential eye irritant.
During the summer, the number of fungal infections, or mycoses, greatly increases, affecting the skin and nails. These infections are highly contagious at public showers and swimming pools, since their spores remain alive in moist environments for a long time. To prevent infection always wear shoes (flip-flops) to walk on the edge of the pools and public showers, gyms, sports centers, or swimming pools. Maintain good hygiene, taking care to wash thoroughly with soap after going to swimming pools and gyms.
Taking all of this into account, you’re now fully prepared to go to the beach and enjoy lots of fun and games, both in the water and on the sand. You can have races, do some bowling, make sand castles (and destroy them), play tick-tack-toe, get covered in sand, throw stones into the water, play with beach balls, frisbees, or find buried treasure. So go have some summer fun!
Author: Itziar Madera, Educational Specialist at Lipa Learning
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