Beach Babies

As I write this, I am on my way to the beach with four energetic kids, 8 years and under. Echoing behind me ( in my very hip 12-passenger van, with the faint smell of poop, cheese popcorn and Luca's sweaty feet) is the sound of " are we there yet? what time will we get there? I see palm trees, does that mean we are close? how many more minutes? "All the while the baby keeps breaking free from her car seat. I know I know, you're envious. Isn't vacation with kids so relaxing?

I love being with my kids, but as they say, I might need a " vacation after my vacation." If I'm seeing your little on my first day back to work feel free to bring me an extra large, very caffeinated coffee.

As you head to the oceans, rivers, lakes and pools this summer, remember a few safety tips. And remember to play with your kids. Phone down. Facebook break. Dirty dishes in the sink.

Never leave a child without adult supervision even for 1 second, even in only 2 inches of water ( as in a bath, pool, river)a child can drown. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), "drownings are a leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1 to 14, and three children die every day as a result of drowning." Three families and all of their loved ones touched by tragedy and changed forever. Three young lives everyday lost to accidental drownings. Three kids who will not get tucked in tonight. If you ever say to yourself, " it's just for one minute...." it's likely too long. Drownings happen quickly and quietly. It's not usually a child thrashing about in a pool. Fence in your pools. Learn CPR. Kids who know how to swim drown, too. Never get comfortable near water when kids are close by. Parents picture this- you are feeling relaxed, no laptop nearby, an icy beverage is in your hand, your toes are in the sand, no one is puking, pooping or peeing within a five foot perimeter around you, and no one is saying " Mommy!" Or "Daddy". Amazing. Ok, wake up now. Something is wrong with this beautiful image. You simply cannot completely relax and keep them safe near water. Unless of course you bring a babysitter or a family member to help and their eyes are on your littles. Then the kids might give you your five foot perimeter. Maybe.

I get asked a great deal about sunblock and what age to begin using it on our littles. Under 6 months, the recommendation is to use physical barriers against the sun such as shade, shirts, umbrellas and canopies. If you must have the baby in direct sunlight, use sunblock, sparingly and only on exposed areas. Use an SPF 15 or above. Over 6 months, use SPF 30-50 and apply every 2 h or after swimming. Use a broad spectrum sunblock because it protects against UVA and UVB rays. Don't forget the ears, feet and scalp! Zinc oxide containing "sunblocks" do not absorb into the skin. They provide a barrier reflecting the rays. Whereas, "sunscreens" have chemicals which protect by absorbing into your skin to prevent sunburn. Fact: studies show that the overall lifetime risk of developing Melanoma climbs 80 percent with 5 blistering burns in childhood. With one bad sunburn, the risk is approximately 50% higher. Wow. I am so regretful as I think back to my teen (sunblock free) summers on the Long Island beaches. Geez. I used baby oil! Please don't do this. Ever. My mom also ironed away my curls on an actual ironing board. That's for a whole other blog. In all seriousness, if your child has multiple skin moles, any enlarging or changing skin mole, any lesion that looks questionable or a family history of Melanoma.... bring them in! We are open 7 days a week and are happy to examine them. Counsel your teens about skin cancer and tanning beds. Change it up a bit from the usual lectures about cleaning up their rooms and studying. They might welcome the new topic. Maybe not.

What are the recommendations regarding bug spray? The main rule is to use insect repellant with up to 30% DEET for 2 month olds and up) for any outdoor activity. This not only helps prevent uncomfortable bites from mosquitoes, but lessens your chances of contracting certain viral illnesses and bacterial illnesses, such as Lacrosse Encephalitis or Lyme Disease. Always wash with soap and water after coming indoors. Apply on exposed skin and clothing. Do not spray under clothing. I can't speak for the herbal home remedies except to say that many of them have not been studied on all age groups. Not all of them protect against both mosquitoes and ticks. DEET is the best defense against these bugs scientifically, lasts 2-5 h and has been studied more extensively. Keep in mind, there are potential risks with each and every choice we make for our kids.

Enjoy your summer! Enjoy your kiddos! Stop in for a check up this summer before the August rush:) I'll be waiting and ready with a strong cup of caffeinated coffee!


PS - curly girls out there ...Love your curls! 

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