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FAQ: Summer Break Health Tips for Kids

1. Why is hydration so important during summer?

Hydration is crucial during the summer because the heat can quickly lead to dehydration, especially for active children. Drinking plenty of water helps regulate body temperature, maintain energy levels, and support overall health.

2. What are the best ways to protect my child from the sun?

To protect your child from the sun, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to all exposed skin. Reapply every two hours or after swimming. Dress your child in lightweight, protective clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Seek shade during peak sun hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

3. What are the signs of heat-related illnesses, and how can I prevent them?

Signs of heat-related illnesses include excessive sweating, weakness, dizziness, nausea, and headaches. Prevent heat-related illnesses by ensuring your child takes frequent breaks in the shade or indoors, stays hydrated, and wears lightweight, breathable clothing.

4. How can I ensure my child's safety around water?

Always supervise children near water, whether it's a pool, lake, or river. Enroll them in swimming lessons, ensure they wear life jackets when boating, and teach them water safety rules, such as never swimming alone and avoiding rough play near water.

5. What can I do to protect my child from insect bites?

Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to protect your child from mosquitoes and ticks. Please remember that for oil of lemon eucalyptus, the AAP advises that it can be used, but should not be applied to children under 3 years of age. For infants under 2 months of age, the AAP recommends avoiding the use of insect repellents entirely. 

Dress them in long sleeves and pants when in wooded areas. Check for ticks after outdoor activities and remove them promptly to reduce the risk of Lyme disease.

6. How can I encourage healthy eating during the summer?

Take advantage of local farmers' markets for fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables. Involve your kids in meal planning and preparation to make healthy eating more enjoyable. Encourage balanced meals that include a variety of food groups to provide essential nutrients for growth and energy.

7. What are some good ways to keep my child physically active?

Encourage outdoor play, sports, and other activities that keep your child moving. Parks and trails, such as the Southern Links Trailway, provide excellent opportunities for active play. Ensure they take breaks to avoid overheating and stay hydrated. Limit screen time and promote active play to foster a healthy, active lifestyle.

8. How can I maintain a regular sleep schedule for my child during summer break?

Aim for a consistent bedtime and wake-up time, even on weekends. Create a calming bedtime routine, such as reading a book or taking a warm bath. Adequate sleep supports growth, development, and overall health.

9. What precautions should I take when traveling with my family?

Ensure car seats and seat belts are used correctly on road trips. Pack a travel first-aid kit with essentials like bandages, antiseptic wipes, and necessary medications. Research your destination for potential health risks and take preventive measures accordingly.

10. How can I support my child's mental health during the summer?

Provide opportunities for social interaction, whether through playdates, sports, or summer camps. Encourage a balance between structured activities and free play. Be attentive to signs of stress or anxiety and create an open environment for your child to express their feelings.

11. Are there any specific local activities or places you recommend for summer fun?

Absolutely! In Flint, Bluebell Beach is a great spot. Bush Park in Fenton and Kelly Lake Park in Burton offer wonderful outdoor experiences. For a blend of activities, Bicentennial Park in Grand Blanc is excellent for keeping kids active and entertained. In Lapeer, Lake Nepessing and Rowden Park are fantastic places for family outings and enjoying nature.

12. What should I do if I have concerns about my child's health during the summer?

If you have any concerns or need further advice, don't hesitate to contact our pediatric office. Our team is here to support your child's health and well-being year-round.

Sami Al-Harastani, MD

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