Family First: Playgrounds

Posted: Friday, May 21, 2010 --- 4:34 a.m.

Now that summer has really come out of nowhere - parents everywhere are scrambling to pull out the sunscreen, bikes, strollers, you name it.

So we talked with a Meriter pediatrician about the top mistakes even the most cautious parents make every year.

First, sunscreen. Especially important as we approach a weekend reaching the 80's in May.

Dr. Jim Bencivenga says one of our biggest mistakes is not re-applying it every two hours... especially for kids who sweat it off so easily.

The second biggest mistake is easy to fix.

" Not applying it early enough ... the AAP says you should apply it 30 minutes before going outside. "

On to topic number two - heat exhaustion - and the mistakes are *not easy to fix.

"Being able to recognize heat exhaustion is not very easy. So the best way to not get to that point is through prevention. "

Dr. Bencivenga says parents' biggest mistake is letting kids go from indoor temps to *several hours* of intense activity outside.

" Let them get used to it... not going for a full hour of running or sports but starting off small and letting the body get used to "

He says give your kiddos water every 20 minutes and don't let someone tell you that a red face is all you need to know they're too hot.

Finally - water safety - the most dangerous mistake of all.

Too many parents get their kids good at swimming and then assume they can go in for their own lunch break.

"Life preservers aren't a replacement for a good set of eyes on any child. "

They also suggest you make up a spring check list for your kids .... like you would spring cleaning.

Don't be afraid to check out their favorite playground - may have worn down over the winter months.

Also stock up on helmets, knee and elbow pads.


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