Summer is all about fun in the sun … until someone gets hurt. Keep your kiddos safer this summer by brushing up on playground slide safety tips, the warning signs of dehydration and the best defense against bug bites. Aaron M. Mayer, DO, a pediatrician with Meritas Health Pediatrics, offers his advice.

Slide Safely

Sliding down the slide at a playground with your toddler may seem safe, but it actually puts your child at risk. “Your child’s shoe can stick to the slide and cause their leg to twist underneath your leg,” Dr. Mayer explained. “That can cause a fracture of one of the lower bones in the leg, which we a call a toddler’s fracture.”

Quench the Thirst

“Children regulate their temperature different than adults, so it may not be as obvious if they’re suffering from dehydration, heat exhaustion or heat stroke,” Dr. Mayer said. “It’s important to plan ahead if you’re going to be outside in the heat.”

What to pack

  • Make sure you have access to shade or air conditioning
  • Bring plenty of water
  • If kiddos are less than 6 months old, pack extra breast milk or formula

Early signs of dehydration

  • Infrequent trips to the bathroom
  • Clammy skin
  • Amount of sweat produced is less than normal

Later signs of dehydration

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Lack of energy
  • Change in how they communicate (altered mental status)

Prevent Bug Bites

“The most common thing we see in the clinic is infected bug bites from scratching, which can increase the risk of infection,” Dr. Mayer said. “If your kiddo’s bug bite is really itchy, put some calamine lotion or hydrocortisone ointment on it to decrease the itch and the risk of infection.”

To prevent bug bites, use an insect repellant that contains DEET that is safe for kid 2 months old and older. Be sure to wash it off when you get inside. 

When in doubt about whether your child is experiencing a normal reaction to something, always ask your doctor.