Summer vacation time is just around the corner, and while this is a very fun time, precautions should also be taken to ensure the safety of your family. In this article, we’re going to share some helpful information to keep in mind as you’re taking time off for the summer.

Albemarle Square Family Healthcare is the practice to call when you need a family medicine doctor or nurse practitioner. We serve the entire family from birth through the end of life, and also provide mental health services and occupational health checks. To learn more about how we can help you, give us a call today!

Use Sunblock Without Exception

No matter how cloudy it is, how much you’re in the water, or how little time you plan to spend outdoors, using sunblock is a must. Stash away bottles of SPF 30 or higher in your cars, purse, backpacks, pool bags, and anywhere else you can so that you’re never leaving home without it. Apply at least 2 tablespoons to the entire body every hour or two. And don’t forget the scalp!

Practice Water Safety

Enrolling your children in swimming lessons is an excellent step to water safety. However, don’t rely entirely on these lessons when it comes to their safety. Never leave kids unattended when they’re at the pool, lake, or ocean. And speaking of the latter two, always have them wear a lifejacket and make sure it’s fastened correctly—inflatable toys are never enough to prevent drowning.

Bike, Scooter, and Skateboard Safety

If your child uses a device with wheels, such as a bicycle, scooter, skates, or skateboard, a helmet is a requirement. Be sure to follow the instructions for wearing it, never leaving the forehead exposed or the straps too loose. With skates, rollerblades, and scooters, wearing knee and elbow pads will protect them from falls. And for skates and rollerblades, an addition of wrist guards can also help.

Protect and Treat Bug Bites

Applying bug repellent on children aged two months and older will help prevent bug bites. These bites can not only be painful and irritating, but mosquitoes, ticks, and other bugs can carry bloodborne diseases. If you’re headed out to the woods, be sure to dress in pants and long-sleeved shirts, too. Afterward, check your and your kids’ entire bodies for ticks (contact your family medicine doctor to discuss removal and the next steps). Learn what beehives and wasp nests look like, and teach your children to avoid them.

Always Use Age-Appropriate Car Seats

Make sure that the car seats you use for your infants and children are age- and weight-appropriate. Next, spend time learning how to properly install the seats—if you’re unsure, many police and fire departments will offer free inspections. When you’re traveling, you will need to be sure to have your seats on you at all times, even while in cabs and using public transportation. While this might seem inconvenient, it can be the difference between life and death.

Know the Signs of Heat Illnesses

Spending time in the outdoors is wonderful, but when it’s hot, taking care to prevent heat-related illnesses (and know their symptoms) is critical. Heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and heat cramps can constitute a medical emergency and require treatment right away. Humid areas like Charlottesville can especially put little ones, the elderly, and even those who take certain medications at risk.

Talk to Teen Workers

If you have high school-aged children, talk to them about their employment rights if they take a summer job. Many businesses are happy to employ teens, but many times, don’t take into consideration their limits. There are certain tasks that kids under 18 aren’t supposed to perform for safety reasons, such as operating cars and heavy equipment, using power tools, or climbing to high places. Additionally, if they are doing a job that requires safety equipment, they will need to be sure to use it and advocate for themselves if their employer doesn’t provide it. Even lifting too much can cause a back injury that can affect them for years. Discuss with them what to do if they are injured on the job to ensure that proper care is sought, and that their employer follows regulations. Many states have regulations regarding the amount of hours minors are allowed to work each week as well.

Prior to leaving on a vacation, be sure to contact us if you have questions about your family’s health. And don’t forget to request any prescription refills well in advance of leaving so you’re not traveling without them. When you need a doctor in Charlottesville to care for your physical and mental health needs, call Albemarle Square Family Healthcare today!