from the doctor-summer safety

by gurumommy on June 1, 2010

in hot topics

A big gurumommy welcome to our newest expert, Dr. Larry Kagan, MD, FAAP and his column, ‘from the doctor’.  Dr. Kagan’s brand new pediatrics practice, Westside Pediatrics is located conveniently 12301 Wilshire Boulevard in Brentwood (www.WSPeds.net, 310-979-7337).  Dr. Kagan MD graduated with honors from UCLA and received his medical training at USC Keck School of Medicine, and completed his internship and residency in Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA).  Today Dr. Kagan gives us some tips on California summer safety:

With no shortage of natural sunlight, our little ones rarely suffer Vitamin D deficiencies.  That said, you know what they say about too much of a good thing…  Infants less than 6 months old should be protected from direct sunlight with lightweight long clothing and wide brimmed hats.  If there is not adequate shade available it is okay to use sunblock applied sparingly to the remaining exposed areas.  Enjoy the summer heat, just make sure you protect their young skin and don’t forget to offer them breastmilk or formula more frequently to avoid dehydration.  Signs of heat exhaustion include flushed skin, fever, rapid heart rate, sweating and/or lethargy.  Children over 6 months will benefit from more liberal use of sunblock.  Apply even on cloudy days, reapply every two hours or after swimming, and don’t forget hydration.

There’s nothing better then a swim on a hot day, but unsupervised swimming is dangerous even for your biggest fish.  Infants and toddlers should never be beyond arms reach and all children require constant supervision when in or near an open body of water.  Bikes, trikes, scooters and skateboards can also be a great source of exercise, and with a few precautions they can be enjoyed safely. A properly fitted CPSC certified helmet is an absolute must for any outdoor sport.  Additional protective gear can be tailored to the activity.  For example, wrist guards are often overlooked but can safeguard against some of the most common skateboarding fractures. Don’t ever play near traffic and always protect your noggin!!  We’ll fix the rest :)

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