Summer :: Tips for Tykes to Stay Active over Summer Vacation

With all the extra free-time that comes with summer vacation, Temple University pediatrician Andrea McCoy offers several tips to keep children active and avoid sedentary behavior during their extended break.

Snacking and Screen Time Can Lead to Obesity

Pediatrician Andrea McCoy advises parents to be mindful of snacking and screen time; that is, time in front of the television, computer and video games. Overeating along with the inactivity associated with too much screen time is a significant contributor to childhood obesity.

Consistent Bed Times Mean Consistently Active Kids

Well rested children tend to be more active than their tired counterparts. Too little sleep can lead to crankiness or hyperactivity, warns McCoy, so it?s best to set a regular bedtime during the summer, just as on school nights, and parents should avoid giving their children caffeine or sugar too close to bedtime.

Struck Down By Skin Issues

There?s nothing like sunburn and poison ivy to make a child (or adult) want to lie in bed all day. McCoy says that all children, regardless of race, must use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 to avoid getting sunburn. If it does occur, she advises parents to give the child a cool bath mixed with a handful of baking soda. While heavy, greasy creams should be avoided, a mild moisturizer or over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream may be soothing. If blistering or fever occurs, McCoy advises parents to call their pediatrician immediately.

If a child has come in contact with poison ivy, McCoy advises parents to wash the oil from the plant off with warm soapy water within a half hour of exposure. Once the oil is rinsed off, it is no longer contagious. However, oils will remain on clothes, so change them carefully and use caution doing the laundry. If a rash has already started to appear, McCoy recommends treatments like anti-itch gel to help with the itch and dry the rash, hydrocortisone cream to help on small patches, and oral antihistamines like Benadryl to temporarily stop the itching, which will keep the rash from getting infected.

By taking these simple steps, children can stay healthy and happy during their summer vacation.

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