What you don't know, could hurt them

By Layron Livingston - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Memorial day is widely considered to be the unofficial start to the summer season.

But before you start planning those summer activities, it's a good idea to clear up some common misperceptions which can help keep your little ones as safe as possible.

We'll start with an easy one--sunscreen.  Some believe it's okay to skip the SPF when it's cloudy outside.  But, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, sunscreen should be applied at least 30 minutes before heading outdoors, even on cloudy days--with at least an SPF (sun protection factor) of 15.

Another misperception:  the effects of heat are not a concern until later in the summer when the temperatures are hotter.

Dr. Bill Wallace with Tyler Urgent Care said, that's just not the case.

"Ninety-three degrees and high humidity is a perfect recipe for a heat related illness," he said.

Wallace said our bodies have to get used to the heat, which normally happens toward the middle of the summer.  The danger for heat exhaustion, or heat stroke can be greater in those late spring, early summer weeks.

Wallace recommends limiting heat exposure during the hottest part of the day and staying hydrated.  "Drink beyond your thirst," he said.  "If you wait until you're really thirsty, it's probably too late."

Dr. Wallace also warned "floaties" may not be as water-safe as some parents think.

"They are not to be used as flotation devices," he said. "You can't trust them."

The AAP agrees and notes "floaties" give a false sense of security.  They are not a substitute for an approved life vest.  They can also slip off in the water, or deflate.

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