Family Time: Beat the heat - tips for keeping your family safe and healthy this summer

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Tip of the Week

The smell of the barbecue grill, the sounds of children playing and the feel of warm sun on the skin are all signs of summer. With increased outdoor activities, there also comes a list of precautions you should take to keep your family safe and healthy.

- Limit sun exposure: Because exposure to the sun causes most of the skin changes associated with aging, protecting the skin from the sun is the single most important skin care practice you can adopt and impart to your children. Significant exposure to the sun will wrinkle and dry the skin. Uneven pigmentation - from freckles to small or large brown spots - is another side effect of frequent sunning. The most serious consequence of sun exposure is skin cancer. Most sun damage occurs before age 18, but skin cancer can take up to 20 or more years to develop. Children who experience just a few serious sunburns are believed to have an increased risk of developing skin cancer later in life. Protect children by applying sunscreen at least an hour before heading outside and frequently reapplying sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Also have them play in the shade and wear protective clothing. Babies younger than 6 months should never be in direct sunlight and should always wear a hat and clothing that protects them from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays.

- Keep an eye on your vision health: Wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat when you're in the sun. These two simple steps can reduce your exposure to eye-damaging UV rays up to 18-fold. And, if you wear contacts, ask your eye care specialist about contact lenses with UV protection. Don't forget your children and their eyes. If you are going to be in the sun, make sure your children are wearing hats that provide coverage. Use your stroller hood when out for a walk and pay attention to the sun's direction. When out for a walk with your stroller, try to walk so that the sun hits your back. You may also want to consider purchasing children's sunglasses.

- Practice water safety: Before you start splashing, remember safety first. Take the time to enroll your kids in swim instruction classes, and teach your children to take precautions before diving into the water. Make sure to read the safety and warning labels on all children's toys, inner tubes and water wings so that you understand their safety capabilities. And remember to reapply sunscreen every few hours after being in the water.

- Stay hydrated: Increase fluid intake as appropriate based on the weather. High temperatures or humidity outside, heated indoor air and high altitudes all cause you to need more fluids. When exercising, drink one cup of fluids every 15 minutes, advises Dr. Werner W.K. Hoeger, a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Boise State University.

- ARA

Family Screening Room

“Iron Man 2”

Rated: PG-13 (for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some language.)

Length: 124 minutes

Synopsis: Billionaire Tony Stark must contend with deadly issues involving the government, his own friends and new enemies due to his superhero alter ego Iron Man.

Violence/scary rating: 4

Sexual-content rating: 3

Profanity rating: 2.5

Drugs/alcohol rating: 2.5

Family Time rating: 3. If your kids were OK with the first “Iron Man,” this movie is probably OK for them.

(Ratings are judged on a five-point scale, with 5 being “bad for kids” and 1 being “fine for kids.”)

Book Report

“Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer,” by John Grisham

Ages: 8-12

Pages: 288

Synopsis: In the small city of Strattenburg, there are many lawyers, and though he’s only 13 years old, Theo Boone thinks he’s one of them. Theo knows every judge, policeman, court clerk - and a lot about the law. He dreams of being a great trial lawyer, of a life in the courtroom. But Theo finds himself in court much sooner than expected. Because he knows so much - maybe too much - he is suddenly dragged into the middle of a sensational murder trial. A cold-blooded killer is about to go free, and only Theo knows the truth. The stakes are high, but Theo won’t stop until justice is served.

Did You Know

According to a new study by Italian scientists, children who are overweight are more likely to snore than non-overweight kids.

GateHouse News Service