By taking a few extra measures, parents can make sure that more time is spent poolside than bedside this summer.
In Vietnam, there are two water safety concerns: drowning and cleanliness. In all cases of children swimming, even in shallow bodies of water, they need to be supervised by an adult familiar with first aid and CPR. To protect against unclean water, make sure your children are only swimming in areas that are properly treated.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends kids limit sun exposure between 10am and 4pm. Reserve these hours for indoor craft projects.
If kids must be outside make sure they cover up with a wide brimmed hat and cotton clothing. Reapply sunscreen every two hours. Use about one ounce of sunscreen at each application to ensure adequate coverage.
In Hanoi, we have issues with bike safety, namely the nature of road rules. Biking is a healthy fun activity that doesn’t necessarily have to be dangerous. Keep kids as safe as possible with helmets and strict riding rules.
Buy helmets that have a sticker stating approval by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Always fasten the strap on the bike helmet and make sure the fit is snug to the head. Set parameters about where kids are allowed to ride. Make sure they know hand signals and caution against riding too close to any kind of vehicle, including parked cars. Also, if you are not biking with your child, make sure they have a buddy system in the event of an emergency or injury.
Make a conscious effort to ensure that kids are more than sufficiently hydrated when outside exercising, and that they eat foods with high water content such as oranges, apples and celery sticks.
If kids are playing in the hot part of the day (10am to 4 pm) send them out with plenty of water and ask that they take a break each hour. Teach older kids the signs of dehydration such as headaches, exhaustion and tingling hands and feet. Also, remind kids of the importance of sunscreen — sunburn inhibits the body’s ability to cool itself, which can lead to dehydration.
Dr. Ian Santos is a pediatrician at Family Medical Practice, which is located in Vietnam’s major cities. For information or assistance call (04) 3843 0748 (Hanoi), (08) 3822 7848 (Ho Chi Minh City) or (0511) 3582 699 (Danang). Alternatively, click on vietnammedicalpractice.com