Children are at risk whenever they are near water. According to the National Safe Kids Campaign, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death to children ages 14 and under. In the summer months, the number of water-related injuries rises because kids spend more time near pools and beaches. Parents should make sure that kids are under constant supervision when near water. Here are some important water safety tips:

1. Always watch your children when they are near water, including pools, hot tubs, lakes, streams and on the beach. Even if your kids can swim, they could get swept away by strong current or a wave.

2. Have your kids wear personal flotation devices when appropriate. Such devices, however, cannot replace parental supervision.

3. Your kids should learn to swim as soon as they are ready. Experts recommend that kids can learn how to swim after the age of four. You can also enroll them in a water safety course.

4. Take a CPR course to learn the basic emergency procedures.

5. If your child gets stung by a jellyfish, contact a lifeguard of the beach who will be able to ease the pain.

6. If there is lightning, get off the beach immediately and seek shelter.

7. Do not swim after a large meal.

8. Each beach has its own characteristics and hidden dangers. Stepping on a sharp piece of coral can ruin all the fun. Talk to the lifeguard to find out if there is anything in particular you and your family should be aware of.

Sun Protection For Children

During summer family vacation time when kids spend a great amount of time outdoors, sun protection is an important health issue to decrease the risk of melanoma. According to expert estimates, 50% to 80% of the skin's lifetime sun damage occurs before the age of 18. Here are some steps that you can take to make sure that your children are better protected:

Apply sunscreen before going outdoors
Apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 to your children's skin about 15 to 30 minutes before they go outdoors. This will enable sufficient time for the sunscreen to get absorbed and provide maximum protection.

Continue to reapply sunscreen
A common recommendation by many public health agencies is to reapply sunscreen every 2 to 3 hours. Use waterproof sunscreen when your kids play in the water. You should reapply sunscreen more often if it rubs off for any reason.

Avoid exposure to the midday sun
The sun's rays are the most harmful between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. when they are most perpendicular to the ground. Advise your kids to play in the shadow or indoors during those hours.

Educate your kids about the dangers of sunburn
Your children should understand that they have to use sunscreen to protect themselves from getting sunburn. This is especially important when they are on their own on a school trip or in a summer camp.

Have your kids wear sunglasses
In order to protect your kids' eyes from strong sunlight, purchase plastic polarized UV sunglasses that can be used on land or in the water.

Protective clothing
You can purchase clothing and hats that block UV rays. It is important to know that regular cotton t-shirts do not protect you against UV rays. Click here for top Hawaii ideas for families.

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