Emergency-room professionals have their own name for the long, lovely, lazy days that kids look forward to in summer: trauma season. Because that's when hospitals see a spike in drownings and heat-related accidents.
Here are some of the biggest misconceptions about popular summertime activities, according to several experts.
Myth: Pool parties are safe as long as adults are around.
Fact: Many drownings happen when adults are close by. The problem is too much commotion. The key is to have a designated adult watching the water because that is where the danger is. The pool should be free of excess toys that can block the view of the water.
Myth: You don't have to worry about sunburn on cloudy days.
Fact: You can get a severe sunburn on a cloudy day. Overcast weather doesn't affect how much harmful UV exposure someone receives. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises using clothing and hats to avoid sun exposure, particularly for babies younger than 6 months, and applying sunscreen of at least 15 SPF that protects against UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreen should be applied at least 30 minutes before going outside and reapplied every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
Myth: Heat isn't a problem until July or August, when temperatures peak.
Fact: Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are more prevalent early in the season, because our bodies haven't had a chance to acclimatize.
Myth: Floaties keep little ones safe in the water.
Fact: Floaties are designed for fun, not safety. They give a false sense of security, can deflate and can slip off.
Myth: Children need to drink only when they are thirsty.
Fact: By the time a child is thirsty, he or she may already be dehydrated. If a child weighs 100 pounds or less, he or she should be drinking five or six ounces of water or sports drink every 15 minutes or so.
Myth: It's safe to keep kids in car seats when the driver gets out for a quick errand.
Fact: The temperature inside a car can rise quickly in the summer, leading to brain damage, kidney failure and death in minutes. When outside temperatures are between 80 and 100 degrees, the temperature inside a car can quickly rise to more than 170 degrees. With an outdoor temperature of 83 degrees, internal car temperatures can reach 109 degrees within 15 minutes, even with windows rolled down two inches. Children are less able to handle extreme heat than adults.