It’s time for hot days and holidays! But are you armed and ready for safe, fun family time?
The beach, the lake, camping, glamping, day trips, BBQs at home, or perhaps a plane trip abroad… Before your family gets the sand in between your toes, there are a few things to think about when it comes to making sure you are set for a safe and sublime summer.
Before you head off anywhere, know where you’re going and what the lay of the land is like. Are there shops around to get food and drinks, or will you need to take your own? Is it near a main road or off the beaten track? Will you need proper footwear, or will jandals be okay? By understanding where you are going, and what will or won’t be available, you can ensure you pack appropriately. Of course it depends on how away from home you will be, but it never hurts to be overstocked on the essentials, particularly when young children are involved.
A new outdoor toy is super exciting, but be sure to pay attention to the safety instructions or warning signs – such as how that fun inflatable donut ring is not at all intended for the ocean!. Discovering a new beach? Be sure to check out the tides, currents and lifeguard hours as well as any signs of rocks or areas to avoid. Instructions and warning signs are in place to minimise risk of injury, and you can never be too careful. Read these aloud and explain in detail to your child to enforce safety precautions and give them a greater understanding of consequence.
Preparing for the unexpected is the best way to reduce the impact for anything that may happen when you and your family are out and about. So why not put together a travel first aid kit that you can easily pop into the car or take with you in a bag? If you don’t know much about first aid kits, it is best to learn more from researching their contents online. Determine which medical supplies such as antihistamines, antibacterial cream, calamine lotion, and pain relief suitable for children. Or to buy a prepacked first aid kit (minus the medications), head to shop.stjohn.org.nz.
First aid kit ideas:
- Antiseptic wipes
- Disposable gloves
- Crepe bandages
- Compression pad
- Cold pack
- Eye pad
- Saline solution
- Rescue/thermal blanket
- Skin closures
Whether it is the local river, beach, lake, or a swimming pool in the backyard, plenty of fun can be had splashing around. For children under three, a parent should alway be swimming with them, and for those under fi ve, an adult should always be only an arm’s length away. It can never be underestimated how quickly a child can get into trouble, literally a second, and even just five centimeters of water can pose a risk to a toddler. For more information, head to watersafety.org.nz.
STINGS AND BITES
From mosquitos to bees, jellyfish to spiders, unfortunately there are plenty of things that like to bite and sting us when we’re just going about our business. The best plan is to be aware of what could happen and how to treat it. Jellyfish stings can be extremely painful, so if you or your child gets stung, try your best to wash out any tentacles with sea water. Don’t rub the area, but a hot shower on the affected area is advisable for minor stings. Anything more serious and you should see your doctor. For bee or wasp stings, make sure you remove the sting from the skin and wash the area with clean cold water. Apply an ice pack to help reduce swelling. If you have any questions about a bite or a sting (and it isn’t life-threatening), you can always call Healthline on 0800 611 116.
Stings and bites have the potential to ruin a fun day, but allergic reactions can take things to the next level! A rash from the grass or an animal, hives after exposure to a particular type of food, or a severe reaction to a bee sting – allergies can occur when we least expect it, particularly if you have young children who have never shown signs of allergies before. While we can’t predict these kinds of things happening, we can reduce their severity and risk of harm if we act fast. It certainly never hurts to carry antihistamines and medicated cream in the first aid kit just in case. For more information about allergies, check out allergy.org.nz.
Summer is a busy time of year for wheeled transport – and there’s often more vehicles (motorised and not) around, particularly in New Zealand’s holiday hotspots. Take extra care on your journey, pay attention in busy car parks, and be mindful of children cycling on the road or near campgrounds. Encourage little ones to hold your hand when crossing a road, and take the opportunity to teach them about road safety. It’s also a great time to check that capsules, car seats and boosters are a good fi t for the size and age of your child. For more tips and advice on car safety, check out safekids.nz.
The sun and the danger it poses to everyone should never be underestimated. Sunburn can happen quickly, even on a cloudy day. Make sure you have plenty of sunscreen (talk to your local pharmacist about which ones are best for children and babies) and apply it liberally to exposed skin, and it’s crucial to reapply often – particularly after swimming. You should always try to stay out of the sun between 11am and 4pm (or at least provide shade), and ensure a hat, t-shirt and sunglasses are worn whenever possible. For further advice around sun safety, check out sunsmart.org.nz.