Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, and the moms who do both jobs! The warm weather went from is-it-ever-gonna-get-here? to full swing, and that means taking some extra steps to keeping your kids safe. Read on for some hot weather wellness tips.
Part 1: Water Safety
LEARN THE STATS SO YOU DON'T BECOME ONE
Hot weather means water fun, and we all know to be especially careful with children. But are we taking it seriously enough? Among unintentional injuries, drowning is the second leading cause of death to this age group after motor vehicle accidents in children under the age of 5. You can't predict or prevent a car accident (but please keep those chest clips high and tight!), but the tragedy is that drowning is completely preventable (as in, a tsunami is not going to bust down your door and take out your kids anytime soon) Children are in danger when they are unsupervised or when adults don't know what the warning signs look like.
Read these statistics so you know when to be your most alert:
Most children who die from drowning are under the age of 3 and most accidents happen between June and August. Most were not expected to be in the pool. That means someone left a door open, or walked away for a minute, or didn't think their baby was capable of lifting the latch. The takeaway is never underestimate what a determined toddler can do.
KEEP YOUR KID SAFE WITH OUR TAG SYSTEM
Things seem more relaxed in the summer. More people are over, the kids are home from school, and it can be easy to let your guard down. The trouble is toddlers don't know they should relax too, and with all this newness from the winter months (the backyard! A water table! A kiddie pool!) you haven't had time to teach them boundaries or even learn what they can and cannot do in those environments. How do you keep an eye on them at all times?
We use the Tag-In system. If one parent leaves the yard or room for whatever reason, they announce to the other parent to be tagged in. That is, Hey I'm leaving, watch the kids. It's a reminder that someone needs to be watching at all times and one parent is out of eyeshot. It seems obvious, but you'd be surprised at how many times the other parent replies, "Wait, I'm tagged in? I thought you were watching them." My husband and I use this and it's a great way to make sure someone has stepped up to be in charge at all times. You ladies may remember this as "I'm heading to the bathroom. Watch my purse?"
THE DROWNING MYTH
We are aware that even things like a bucket of water or a small amount in a kiddie pool can be a danger, and we make sure that they don't have unsupervised access to a swimming pool. We keep a close eye on them in public pools and beaches. What a lot of parents don't know is that drowning doesn't look like the scenes on TV. Typical drowning does not involve shouting, waving arms, splashing, and bouncing up and down in the water. The blog ModernMom published an article relaying the warning signs of drowning so parents can stay aware in the water. Parents should look for The Instinctive Drowning Response. Below is a recap from the post:
1. Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.
2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.
So if your kids are splashing around, they're probably just having a great time. It's when they are still and upright that we should make sure they're okay.
DRY AND SECONDARY DROWNING
Every spring, the Facebook mom groups become active with posts about dry drowning. Let's drive home the point that dry drowning is very rare. It's estimated at 1% to 5% of all drownings. You're much better focussing your worry on active water safety, and not freaking out if they cough or seem tired after a day at the beach (who isn't?)
I'm hesitant to mention it and possibly spread the fear, but it's helpful for parents to know that not all drowning happens underwater. Since kids don't know to hold their breath around water, they can sometimes breathe it in even when they are not being submerged in it, and because of their size, their airways are more susceptible to damage. There are two types of incidents that can happen. Below is an excerpt from a WebMD article.
Dry Drowning: With dry drowning, the water children breathe in never even reaches the lungs. Instead, breathing in water causes your child's vocal cords to spasm and close up after he's already left the pool, ocean, or lake. That shuts off his airways, making it hard to breathe. Symptoms of dry drowning usually happen right after any incident in the water.
Secondary Drowning: This happens when your child's airways open up, letting water into his lungs, where it builds up, causing a condition called pulmonary edema which ends up as troubled breathing. Secondary drowning generally starts later, within 1-24 hours of the incident.
Dry drowning and secondary drowning have the same symptoms. They include coughing, chest pain, trouble breathing, and fatigue.
Part 2: Stroller Safety
THE SUMMER STROLLER MISTAKE
We all know not to leave kids in the car, even for an instant, but there's another risk out there that a lot of mothers practice. Stroller covers are great to protect little ones from the elements, but if you throw a muslin over the whole stroller in the heat, you create a mini sauna where baby is sitting. Parents magazine ran a story about researchers in Sweden who discovered that the temperature inside a stroller without any covering that was left out in the heat was 72 degrees. But after being covered by a thin cloth, it reached 93 degrees within thirty minutes. After an hour, the temp shot up to almost 100 degrees.
Shading your babe from the sun is a great idea, but if you are taking them out for a walk, keep the stroller uncovered for maximum air circulation. Use your stroller's sun cover or an infant hat for protection. Or just use a thin blanket on top of their body, not over the entire stroller.
That's it for this week! Stay safe out there! Monday, June 18 is our last Mommy Meetup before Fall at Lil Chameleon from 10:30am to 12:00pm. Come down and meet your mom squad before we retreat into playground play dates and camp. $5 cash at the door per family. For more info go to LilChameleon.com
As always, check our website for events. And if you like what you're reading, help keep the computer screen on by following us on Facebook or Instagram and signing up for our weekly emails at BabyGotChat.com.
See you next time!