Keeping Children Safe in the Summer Sun

The summer sun has been heating up Florida for months now, and the ever-rising temperatures confirm it. School is out, and families are taking to the pool, lakes, and ocean beaches to beat the heat for summertime fun. There are some precautions that parents and caregivers should take to prevent sunburn, long-term skin damage, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Spend time in the sun wisely.

Children want to be out all day long during the summer break. However, parents and caregivers should limit the amount of time spent in direct sunlight. If possible, schedule outdoor activities before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. to avoid the maximum strength of the sun’s rays. If being out in the sun can’t be avoided, have them wear UV protective clothing, which provides a great layer of protection. 

From swimsuits to lightweight long sleeve shirts and pants, sun protective clothing can provide up to SPF 50 protection to delicate skin. Wide-brimmed hats are recommended as they not only shield the face, but protect the scalp and neck from direct sun exposure. This is especially important for newborns and infants too young to have sunscreen safely applied.

Sunscreen is still your friend.

Sunscreen is still the most valuable tool in the summer sun protection plan when used properly. It should be applied at least 15 minutes prior to the first exposure of the day and then reapplied every 2 hours. Reapply more often if swimming or sweating profusely. Effective sunscreens protect from both UVA and UVB light and have a minimum of SPF 30. Whether spray on or lotion, sunscreen is an absolute must have for keeping kids safe in the summer sun.

Protect those beautiful eyes.

Children’s eyes allow more UV light to pass through to the retina than adult eyes. The radiation that passes through causes cellular damage which can cause complications later in life, such as cataracts and cancer of the cornea. Children are more likely to reach for a pair of sunglasses before heading outside if they have been encouraged from infancy to wear them. For added incentive, children are also more likely to wear them if they have selected their own style and color. Set a good example by wearing your sunglasses every time you are out in the sun. Make sure everyone’s eyes are protected before heading out for summer fun in the sun.

Know the warning signs of sunburn and treat it as soon as possible.

People who suffer five or more sunburns over the course of a lifetime have doubled the chances of developing skin cancer (melanoma). Contrary to old-school thinking, there is no such thing as a “healthy” tan. If you see that your child is starting to exhibit red skin, get them out of the sun as soon as possible. 

To prevent a burn from becoming painful, immerse your child in a cool bath, and after patting them dry, moisturize with aloe or cortisone cream. Stay away from heavy creams and lotions that will retain their body heat. Do not use lidocaine or benzocaine products, as they can further aggravate the sun burn. Make sure they drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Staying safe is an important part of summer fun in the sun, and we always encourage our students to keep safety in mind. Our Orlando private school, located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, encourages parents to provide children with activities to help stimulate them over the summer. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Helping Your Child Deal with Social Reentry

children packing food donations

Even if your child was a social butterfly before the pandemic, they might struggle to go back to full classrooms and events without social distancing. They could also be starting to make up for lost time with friends and family. These sudden changes can be overwhelming.  Here are some ways you can help your child deal with them.

Have an Honest Conversation

Your child might be nervous about facing large crowds, even if they’re excited about things going back to normal. They may feel brave until the moment they see the full classroom or notice how cramped a gym locker room can feel. This is a great opportunity to open up a dialogue with your child. If you’re also nervous about reentering crowded situations, talk through it. Maybe you can navigate it together. On the other hand, if you’re not nervous, be understanding with your child, and try to pass on some of that bravery.

crowded outdoor market

Prepare Your Child

Learn as much as you can about the policies at your child’s school, especially ones that will change in the upcoming school year. Will masks be required? Will the school still provide virtual options for vulnerable children? Tell your child everything you know to help prepare them for what’s ahead. Your child may have trouble understanding how things that were considered dangerous earlier this year are safe now. Walk them through it as much as you can, and try to answer all their questions.

Ease Into It

Help your child ease in by starting with small crowds. Find events that they’ll be excited to attend. If your child has trouble engaging with others after a year of online interactions, wait until you’re alone, then talk about it. Don’t embarrass them in front of their friends and family; you can’t bully your kid into bravery. They dealt with a lot of change over the past year, so it makes sense that they would forget about social graces. 

alarm clock on table

Get Back into a Routine

If you’ve been working from home for a while and are finally reentering the office, there are a few things that might feel new again: commuting, planning meals, or spending the day in the office. The same goes for your child. To get your child used to getting ready for school and doing after school activities, establish daily routines at home. Make sure your child wakes up early and doesn’t stay up too late. Plan meals on a schedule that works for the whole family. When your child gets back into a flow, encourage them to try new activities so they have something fun to look forward to.

Children may need help adjusting to the changing world around them, and parents are in a great position to help. Our Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

5 Tips for Summer Water Safety

pool lifeguard water safety

When the weather heats up, it’s natural for children to want to take a dip in the water to cool off. While most adults can easily find their way through bodies of water, children need a little extra help. Drowning is a serious concern, especially when children find their way into water without supervision. Here are our recommendations for keeping your child safe around water this summer.

Pay Attention

In a perfect world, every pool and beach would have attentive lifeguards on duty at all times. However, this simply isn’t the case. Whenever your child gets in the water, whether it’s an inflatable pool or an ocean, stay vigilant. Make sure you know your child’s location and pay attention to how they’re handling the water. If you have a pool in your home and can’t find your child, check the pool first. Paying attention to your child’s swimming habits could save their life.

swimming children in pool with sunglasses

No Swimming Alone

When you’re busy and your child wants to go swimming, you may be tempted to let them go alone. However, anything from cramps to overconfidence in swimming ability can create a dangerous situation. See if they can find a buddy to go to the pool with if you’re not able to go. While a friend or sibling may not be as strong as an adult, they can at least call for help. Tell your child and their buddy who to call in the case of an emergency.

Swim Lessons

One way to help your child stay safe is by teaching them how to swim. By taking swimming lessons, your child learns how to stay afloat and hold their own in the water. Swim instructors make sure your child swims with proper form and technique. Lessons alone will not keep your child safe from harm, but they can help your child confidently navigate the waters under normal circumstances. No child is too young to learn to start swimming; even infants can take water exposure classes and get familiar with bodies of water.

boy with life jacket paddle boarding on lake

Life Jackets

When your child is just learning how to swim or going on an outdoor adventure near the water, wearing a life jacket can quite literally save their life. These are especially important when riding on boats or going near large bodies of water where it’s not always easy to keep track of your child. Children are naturally curious, which can get them into trouble. Life jackets aren’t a substitute for watching your child; they are an added layer of protection. Floaties can help children who are just learning to swim but are not replacements for life jackets.

Know What to Do in an Emergency

Telling your child what to do in an emergency can help keep them safe. However, it’s equally important that you know what to do if something goes wrong. Here’s what you should do in the event of an emergency:

  • Alert the lifeguard if one is available to help.
  • If no lifeguard is present, remove the person from the water if you can do so without putting yourself in harm’s way.
  • Ask someone to call emergency services. If you’re alone, provide 2 minutes of care, then call. 
  • Use rescue breathing, CPR and an AED if available.
  • Signs a swimmer needs help: 
    • They’re not moving forward in the water.
    • They’re vertical in the water and can’t move.
    • They’re motionless and face down in the water.

During summer break, children in Florida naturally gravitate toward the water. It’s important to keep them safe when they do. At St. Charles Borromeo, teachers work hard to guide students toward academic and spiritual growth. Our Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Helping Your Child Stay Safe Online

child online Orlando Catholic School

The internet can be a great resource for developing minds. Children can form connections and find a wealth of information online. However, there is a dark side to having an infinite amount of information and access to others. With the internet being more a part of our lives than ever before, it’s vital to ensure your child’s online safety. Here are our tips for helping your child stay safe online:

Talk About Internet Safety

The first step in keeping your child safe is talking to him about safety. When your child first accesses the internet, start talking about what he’s reading, watching and doing online. Listen to your child’s thoughts on what he wants to do online. Each family handles this differently, but it helps if you establish clear rules. Discuss online behavior and its effects on offline life. Talk about online reputation, emphasizing that everything your child posts will be public and permanent. Remind your child that everyone he talks to online is a real person, so any hurtful comments he makes could have a long-term impact.

Track Your Child’s Online Habits

Keep the computer your child will be using in a central part of the house where you can monitor his activity. Check the browser history to make sure he’s not seeing anything he shouldn’t be. Aside from the websites and apps your child is using, pay attention to how much time he’s spending online. One way to do this is by setting a timer for each session for an agreed upon amount of time, like 30 minutes or an hour. When time is up, say so, and be firm. When it’s bedtime, consider turning off the Wi-Fi so the whole family can get offline for the night. 

online phone on social media next to laptop Orlando Catholic School

Know Who Your Child’s Online Friends Are

Before your child gets online, inform him that not everyone online is who they say they are. Look for warning signs, like spending long hours online at night, phone calls from strangers, and your child shutting off the computer when you walk in. Human trafficking is a growing problem that affects teens everywhere, even Central Florida, so it’s important to look out for the signs and have a conversation with your child. Talk to him about saying no, getting out of uncomfortable situations, and letting a teacher or parent know when something suspicious happens around him. Even if it doesn’t affect him directly, reporting suspicious behavior can save a life.

Along with the threat of human trafficking, cyberbullying is an issue for children, both being bullied and becoming the bully. Become friends with their social media accounts, and monitor their posts. If your child or his friends post something inappropriate, try to talk about it in private and offline. You want to be a trusted advisor, not an embarrassing parent. 

Find the Parental Controls

The good news is that parental controls are readily available. Internet service providers typically offer parental controls, so that’s a great place to start. Figure out how they work, and look into additional options like browser plugins and website filters to keep your child protected. Bookmark their favorite websites so they can easily access them. While you have a certain amount of control over what happens in your home, keep in mind that these filters aren’t perfect, and your child will be using the internet in other places, like at school and at friends’ houses.

mother stands behind child on computer Orlando Catholic School

Help Your Child Protect Themselves

To keep your child safe online, help them protect themselves. Tell your child why it’s important not to share information like their full name, location and school with strangers online. Show them how privacy filters work. No matter how hard we try, sometimes inappropriate messages get through. Teach your child how to report these types of messages and block accounts. At our Orlando Catholic school, we believe the internet can be a great resource for children, as long as they use it responsibly.

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.