Summer Safety Tips

Summer Safety Tips for Kids and Families

Dr. Brenna Gerdelman visited the KXAN studios in early July to share summer safety tips with meteorologist Natalie Ferrari.   Her tips include choosing the right sunscreen and bug repellent, how to avoid dehydration, firework safety and water safety (although they ran out of time during the interview).

Choosing a Sunscreen:

Choosing the right sunscreen helps reduce early aging and risk of skin cancer

  1. Choose a Broad Spectrum Sunscreen which protects against
    1. UVA (ultraviolet A)
    2. UVB (ultraviolet B)
    3. For kids make sure the formula includes zinc oxide or titanium oxide.
  2. SPF 30 or higher.
  3. Water resistant or very water resistant – 40-80 minutes.
  4. 1-ounce of sunscreen = one shot glass full.

Recommendations: Neutrogena Dry Touch for adults and Neurtogena Pure-Baby for children and infants .

Source: American Academy of Dermatology

Choosing a Bug Repellent

To help prevent mosquito borne illness like the Zika Virus, West Nile Virus, Chikunguya.

  1. For the best protection against mosquito borne illness – ADC Travel Clinic recommends Sawyer with Picaridin (Consumer Reports also picked it as most effective against Zika).
  2. 20% Picaridin.
  3. Lasts 8 hours.
  4. Picaridin is as effective as DEET without the smell or toxicity.
  5. Safe for ages 6 months and up.
  6. Is effective against other biting insects like ticks, chiggers and more.
  7. Although not as effective, natural repellents containing lemon-grass may work but will need reapplication every 1-2 hours.

Source: ADC Travel Clinic


  1. Drink freely before going outside – you do not want to be thirsty prior to your activity.
  2. If you must work or exercise in the heat – take water breaks every 15-30 minutes.
  3. If exercising or working in the heat for more than an hour – you may replace lost minerals with sports or electrolyte drinks.
  4. In children dehydration includes a dry mouth and tongue, crying without tears,. No wet diaper for 3 + hours, high fever, being unusually sleepy or drowsy.
  5. If dehydrated drink small amounts of water over a period of time.
  6. If symptoms do not subside seek immediate help.

Source: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/dehydration.html

Firework Safety

  1. Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  2. Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
  3. Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  4. Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  5. Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
  6. Substitute glow sticks, bubbles, water balloons to keep children entertained and safe during 4th of July activities.

Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission

Water Safety

  1. Never leave infants or children unattended – even for a few seconds – around any body of water including pools, bathtubs, standing water, lakes, etc.
  2. Children need to learn to swim – The AAP recommends 4 and older to begin learning
  3. Parents and caregivers should learn CPR
  4. Inflatable arm bands/air filled devices are not the same as a life jacket
  5. Talk to teens about the increased risk of drowning when alcohol is involved

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

When in doubt ask your family doctor or pediatrician for more summer safety advice and tips.  Enjoy a safe and healthy season.