Hylton I Lightman MD DCH(SA) FAAP

Winter break is imminent. Please keep the following safety tips in mind while planning and executing your fun time.

Watch Dr. Lightman on How to Properly Apply Sunscreen

Fun in the sun means practicing “Safety Sun”

Miami. Acapulco. Panama. Courcheval. Vail. They all share something in common now – Strong sun. Enjoy especially the Vitamin D.

But never forget the sunscreen and use it. Generously. No matter how stunning the sun feels in the moment, be proactive and use sunscreen to be protected from the sun’s harmful rays. Sunscreen use can help prevent skin cancer which any person can get, regardless of age, gender or race.

Of course, the first and best line of defense is to cover up and to remain in the shade as much as possible between 10 am and 3 pm. But we know that’s not happening over winter break.

So bring the sunscreen along.

Your sunscreen should offer broad-spectrum protection, Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 and higher, and water resistance. Teach your children to apply, apply and apply, especially after swimming. See my brief tutorial above on applying sunscreen. Sunscreens are also for cloudy days. Brimmed hats are also a good avenue for sun protection (black-hat Borsalinos not necessary) as are some of the contemporary swim cover-ups.

Try to limit sun exposure midday when the sun is at its zenith.

The Colette Coyne Melanoma Awareness Campaign foundation has practical information, including how to do body checks. Colette’s tragic death at the age of 30 from melanoma spurred her mother to action to educate others so they would not suffer the same fate. Her story is featured HERE https://ccmac.org/ Educate yourself so you can help your children.

Water time

Pools and beaches are great. But you’ve got to follow the rules.

Swim only where it is clearly marked and a lifeguard is on duty. This includes pools, lakes and oceans. Investing in swimming lessons is a fabulous way to empower children.

Also, encourage your children to hydrate at every opportunity with water. Children are at greater risk for dehydrating because their bodies do not cool down as efficiently as adults

  • Make sure your child has access to cool drinking water at all times.
  • Speak with them about scheduling hydration breaks. Before prolonged physical activity, a child should be well-hydrated. During the activity, periodic drinking should be enforced: For example, each 20 minutes, 5 oz of cold tap water or a flavored sports drink for a child weighing 90 lbs, and 9 oz for an adolescent weighing 130 lbs. This holds true even if the child does not feel thirsty.
  • Sugary drinks are not recommended as they can aggravate dehydration. Sorry kids, my own included.

Swimming pools, both public and private, must be fenced off without easy access. There should be some kind of pool covering in private pools. A responsible adult who knows how to swim should always be present.

Helmets and head protection

Skiing and playing sports are important but playing smartly is the trick. Know the sport but know how to protect your head as well.

A sports-related injury to the head is called a “concussion,” which can temporarily interfere with the way the brain works. Head injuries take time to heal and require rest.

Concussion symptoms can include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, irritability and difficulty with thinking skills, such as memory and attention. Post-concussion syndrome is a complex disorder of concussion symptoms that last longer than a normal recovery period.

Prevention is best. Appropriate fitting headgear and other equipment is a must.

As always, daven.

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