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Outdoor Safety Tips for Your Family
It’s rare that kids want to spend time outside these days, so when they say they want to go fishing or hiking, many parents jump at the chance. But before heading into the great outdoors, you should be prepared for the risks.
“Make sure kids wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and brimmed caps, and urge them to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration,” says Felicia Workeneh, MD, a board-certified physician specializing in Pediatrics at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.
If they're hiking in tall grass or wooded areas, she advises wearing thick-soled walking shoes or leather boots.
“Alert them to watch where they step, sit, or place their hands,” she adds. “They could find themselves in the middle of fire ants or other unwanted critters.”
Dr. Workeneh advises showing photographs of poison ivy, oak, and sumac, so your family can identify and avoid the rash-causing plants and vines. “Relate the saying: ‘Leaves of three, beware of me.'”
Use insect repellent to ward off mosquitoes and ticks.
“Don't put insect repellent on babies less than 2 months old,” Dr. Workeneh warns. “When repellent is used, make sure it contains no more than 30% DEET and isn't applied to the hands or near the eyes and mouths of young children.”
To help keep bees away, Dr. Workeneh suggests wearing light-colored clothing.
“Remove a bee sting by scraping the stinger in a side-to-side motion with a credit card or fingernail,” she says. “Don't use tweezers which could force more venom into the skin.”
She says not to feed wild animals – not even dogs or cats.
“Play it safe and enjoy the season's outdoor activities,” concludes Dr. Workeneh.