Summer Safety Tips for our Little Ones

The weather is finally heating up and our little ones are excited to be outdoors. Lets keep them safe by following these simple steps -

1. Supervise, Supervise, Supervise - No matter how smart our kids are, they easily forget the rules when they are having fun.  If your kids are playing in a park or near a road, it is especially important to be within a close distance to them to ensure their safety.  Kids will often forget road rules when their ball rolls out onto the street and just dart out without looking to get it.  If we are there to see it happen we can stop them before they even think to do it.

2. Be Vigilant Around Water - Playing in a pool or at the beach?  Remember that it doesn't take long for something bad to happen in the water.  Be within reach of children who do not know how to swim at all times and have them wear a life vest.  Also be aware of secondary drowning if a problem should arise.

3. Wear Proper Shoes for the Activity - We all love being able to wear sandals after a long winter of wearing boots but they are not neccesarily the best shoes to wear when playing.  When playing sports and riding bikes let's keep to proper running shoes. Flip flops and sandals don't offer good foot support or traction for these activities

4. Make Safety Gear a Necessity - I know a lot of us think back to when we were kids and how we would ride our bikes without helmets and we all turned out ok.  What we don't think about is the increased number of cars on the road and the number of bike related accidents.  Let's remind our kids that they MUST wear a helmet whenever they are out riding.

5. Avoid the Burn - At least 30mins prior to going outside put sunscreen on yourself and your kids.  Use an SPF of at least 30 for best protection.  It is not recommended to use sunscreen on babies under 6 months, so dress them in light clothing that will protect them from the sun and keep them in the shade as much as possible.  Also, remember to keep the head protected by wearing a hat.

6. Don't Leave Your Kids in the Car Unattended - It doesn't take much for heat stroke to set in, or worse. Every year children and pets die in cars. Small children and animals are not able to open a window or open a door like you can. Typically, they will be quiet as heat overcomes them, so there won't be crying or other audible indications of trouble. Cracking the windows does not help; it doesn't prevent the temperature in the car from rising.  Please take this one VERY seriously!

7. Stay Hydrated - Seems like a no brainer but when we are out having fun, it is easy to forget. When I go to the beach we always bring a cooler of water and other drinks and now I set a timer on my phone to remind the kids every hour to come and get a drink and it helps me remember for myself too.

8. Be Careful Approaching Dogs - Make sure your kids know the proper way to approach a dog. Just because a dog looks cute and cuddly, it doesn't always mean they are nice to strangers. Always ask the owner first if it is ok to approach there dog and they will tell you if the dog will be ok with it. Approach slowly and bend down to the dogs level, Leaning over the dog can frighten them. Hold your hand out so the dog can sniff you. Gently pet the dog's cheek or chin; rubbing the top of their head shows dominance and can intimidate the dog. Remember to read their body language. A dog with a loose body and wagging tail is happy and open to human interaction. A dog with a stiff body and tail that is tucked under just wants to be left alone.

9. Use Insect Repellant - Bugs seem to be taking over the world. LOL just kidding but with the rainy weather we had during the spring, there is a larger amount of mosquitoes out and we also have the added worry of ticks. There are a number of insect repellants on the market that you can use that have deet that are good to use but if you prefer a more natural remedy here are some good ones to try. (recipes found on Wellness Mama)

 

Homemade Bug Spray Ingredients

  • 30 drops geranium essential oil
  • 30 drops citronella essential oil
  • 20 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil
  • 20 drops lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 1 TBSP vodka or rubbing alcohol
  • ½ cup natural witch hazel
  • ½ cup water (or vinegar)
  • 1 tsp vegetable glycerin (optional)

Homemade Bug Spray Instructions

  1. Place essential oils in a glass spray bottle. Add vodka or alcohol and shake well to combine.
  2. Pour in witch hazel and shake to combine.
  3. Add ½ tsp vegetable glycerin if using. This is not necessary but helps everything stay combined.
  4. Add water and shake again. Shake before each use as the oils and water will naturally separate some over time.

DIY Bug Spray Recipe Variations

 

Natural bug sprays can also be made without essential oil using dried herbs and witch hazel or vinegar. This recipe is typically considerably less expensive, though it is also not as potent as the recipe above.

 

Fresh or Dried Herbs Bug Spray Ingredients

  • Distilled water
  • Witch hazel or rubbing alcohol
  • Dried herbs: peppermint, spearmint, citronella, lemongrass, catnip, lavender, etc. I recommend using at least one herb from the mint family.

Fresh or Dried Herbs Bug Spray Instructions

  1. Boil 1 cup of water and add 3-4 tablespoons of dried herbs total in any combination from the above. I use 1 tablespoon each of peppermint, spearmint, catnip and lavender, and also throw in a couple of dried cloves.
  2. Mix well, cover and let cool (covering is important to keep the volatile oils in!)
  3. Strain herbs out and mix water with 1 cup of witch hazel or rubbing alcohol. Store in a spray bottle in a cool place. We often keep ours in the fridge for an extra cooling spray.
  4. Use as needed. Added bonus: it smells great and is very refreshing to the skin.

TIP: If you have the time and want to make a stronger version of this recipe, prepare the herbs in an alcohol mixture as a tincture instead, and use this directly as a spray after straining out the herbs.

Vinegar Tick and Insect Repellent Recipe

Fair warning: this stuff stinks when it is wet, though the smell disappears as it dries. It works incredibly well though, and this is the one I use when I’m going to be in the deep woods or other tick-infested areas.

This recipe is also very inexpensive to make and you probably already have the ingredients in your kitchen.

Wellness Mama Natural Bug Spray Recipe AKA Vinegar of the Four Thieves Insect Repellent

  • 1 32-oz bottle of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TBSP each of dried sage, rosemary, lavender, thyme, and mint
  • Quart-size or larger glass jar with airtight lid

Vinegar of the Four Thieves Insect Repellent Instructions

  1. Put the vinegar and dried herbs into large glass jar.
  2. Seal tightly and store on counter or place you will see it daily. Shake well each day for 2-3 weeks.
  3. After 2-3 weeks, strain the herbs out and store in spray bottles or tincture bottles, preferably in fridge.
  4. To use on skin, dilute to half with water in a spray bottle and use as needed.
  5. Use whenever you need serious bug control!

Note: This mixture is very strong and has antiviral and antibacterial properties. It can also be used as a tincture for any illness. For adults, dose is 1 tablespoon in water several times a day. For kids over two, the dose is 1 teaspoon in water several times a day.

Other Simple Insect-Repelling Ideas

  • Use a non-toxic, plastic-free insect-repelling band like these, which is easier to use on children and very effective.
  • Add vanilla extract to either of the above recipes, or just rub on the skin. You can also mix vanilla with witch hazel and water for a spray version.
  • Plant insect-repelling herbs in your yard. I grow lavender, thyme, mint, and citronella near our patio and we use these fresh plants as bug repellent in a pinch.
  • Rub lavender flowers or lavender oil on your skin, especially on hot parts of body (neck, underarms, behind ears, etc.) to repel insects.
  • Rub fresh or dried leaves of anything in the mint family all over skin to repel insects (peppermint, spearmint, catnip, pennyroyal, etc. or citronella, lemongrass, etc.). Basil is also said to repel mosquitoes and I’ve used fresh basil leaves in the garden with great success before.

These are some very simple tips to follow that will keep our kids safe so they can create some awesome summer memories!

 

This blog was written by Angela Hickman, famiizuu member & mother of 2

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