Biking: Teach Your Kids to Ride Safely
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_ Tell your child to drink even if they don’t feel thirsty. Thirst is a sign of dehydration. _ Have them drink 12 ounces of fluid 30 minutes before they participate in the activity. _ Children who are under 90 pounds should drink five ounces every 20 minutes; children who are over 90 pounds should drink nine ounces every 20 minutes. _ When the child is finished, make sure they drink every 20 minutes within the first hour of post-activity. _ For an effective way to measure how much your child should be drinking, remember: a gulp equals 1/2-ounce, so if they need to drink five ounces, tell them to take 10 gulps. _ And, teach them the ABCs of dehydration: _ Always drink before, during, and after an activity. _ Bring along the right kinds of fluids, such as sports drinks. _ Children need these fluids as part of their sports equipment.
For more information about this program and how to prevent heat illness and dehydration, call 1-866-5DEFEAT or log onto www.defeattheheat.com.
Food Survival 101 The American Dietetic Association (ADA) and ConAgra Foods Foundation recently released a study, based on a consumer survey, reporting that most parents do not practice proper food safety habits when preparing their children’s lunches and snacks. Food safety is particularly relevant in summer. The ADA and ConAgra foods have come up with the following list of guidelines to help families keep their food cold, fresh, and clean: • Invest in an insulated lunch bag to keep perishable foods cold until lunchtime; perishable foods should not be out of the fridge for more that two hours; one hour in temperatures above 90 degrees. • If using brown paper bags, double bag them for extra protection. • Instruct your child to throw away any remaining perishable items after lunch, saving only shelf-stable foods. • If keeping food cold is a problem, make a lunch with shelf stable food like fruits and vegetables, cereal and granola bars, pudding cups or single serving soy milk, peanut butter, or cans of tuna. • Teach your child to wash hands before and after eating, or throw in a moist cleansing towelette to remind them to keep hands clean. Make sure you rinse off all of your fruits and vegetables in cool tap water before packing them in the lunch bags. And, in the home, separate raw meats and keep counter areas clean, and wash your hands before and after preparing food. For more information about kitchen and food safety, visit www.homefoodsafety.org or call the ADA’s consumer nutrition line at (800) 366-1655.
What Type of Sunblock is Right for You? Everybody knows that sunblock is necessary whenever going out into the sun, but what kind of product is right for you? And what are the differences between them? The first thing you generally see when purchasing a sun-shielding product is “SPF”, which means “sun protection factor”. Many doctors recommend purchasing a product with SPF protection of 30 or higher for direct contact with sun, such as extended periods spent outdoors at the beach, playing sports, or in the garden. The next important step is determining what type of rays you want protection from. UVB and UVA rays are both harmful, but in different ways. UVB rays are the ones that burn the skin and cause melanoma skin cancer — the deadliest kind. UVA rays are the ones that damage your skin and give you wrinkles. If you want to protect yourself against both, get a product that blocks both types. Products such as Parsol 1798 are effective against UVA rays; so are zinc and titanium oxide. Zinc oxide sunscreens can be applied as soon as you go outside, but most sunscreens need to be applied 30 minutes before outdoor exposure to be fully effective, and should be reapplied often once outside. For those who are finicky about sunscreen and don’t like greasy lotions, try using sprays, fast drying lotions, or non-greasy products. And one more important safety tip: keep your kids away from tanning beds, as they expose the skin to increased levels of UVA, which is linked to early-onset skin cancer.
Shield Your Eyes from the Blinding Sun The sun can damage your eyes, as well as your skin. Your eyes’ exposure to UV rays “contribute to age-related changes in the eye and a number of serious eye diseases,” says Betsy Van Die, media relations director for Prevent Blindness America. Van Die says everybody, young or old, who exposes their eyes to the sun is at risk for damage. UVB rays, which cause sunburn and heighten the risk of skin cancer, can cause something called photokeratitis, or a sunburn on your cornea (the membrane that covers the front of your eye). Sunburned corneas are common in people who spend a lot of time on the beach or skiing without proper eyewear; and while it isn’t permanent, it can be painful and lead to temporary vision loss, Van Die says. UVA rays, which cause wrinkles, can also penetrate the eye, and may injure the macula, the part of the retina which is responsible for seeing in the center field of vision. But, both UVA and UVB rays can lead to the development of cataracts; macular degeneration can lead to loss of eyesight, or eyelid cancer, if eyes aren’t properly protected. The best way to protect your eyes is to wear a wide-brimmed hat to shield the face; hats can reduce the amount of UV that hits your face by 50 percent — saving both your eyes and your skin. Buy good sunglasses (not the bargain ones for a dollar or two) that have the UV sticker to prove they block 99-100 percent of UV rays. Better yet, buy wraparound sunglasses for the best protection because they shield your eyes from every angle. And, when buying sunglasses for children, make sure they have full UV protection, and a proper fit. —Sara Rivka Davidson
If you’re pregnant … Have Belly, Will Travel!
Expectant motherhood brings special considerations when you’re traveling:
If you're traveling by car • Set a realistic travel itinerary for yourself. Your days of whizzing down the highway for hours at a time with not so much as a single bathroom break are a thing of the past — at least for now. In fact, if you're like most pregnant women, you're likely to find yourself mapping out your route based on washroom availability — the ultimate roadside attraction at this stage in your life.
• If your car has airbags, you'll want to make sure that there is at least a 10-inch gap between your belly and the dash. (You may have to move your seat back a little if you're megapregnant). And while we're talking positioning, here's something important to keep in mind if you're the driver: you should tilt the steering wheel downward so that it's as far as possible from your belly, to minimize the risk of injury to your baby in the event of a car accident.
• Wear your seatbelt. Your seatbelt should be fastened across your hips and underneath your belly (as opposed to across your belly). This will help to reduce the risk of injury to you and your baby in the event of an automobile accident. If the seatbelt has a shoulder belt, make sure that it is positioned between your breasts. (If the shoulder belt is chaffing your neck, try moving your seat back a little).
If you're traveling by plane • Make sure you're clear about airline policies concerning pregnant travelers before you book your flight. Policies vary from airline to airline, but most carriers require some sort of doctor's certificate from any pregnant woman who is traveling during the mid- to late third trimester.
• If you're heading to exotic locales, make sure that any immunizations that are required can be safely administered during pregnancy. It's best to avoid live vaccines and certain other types of vaccines during pregnancy.
• Get out of your seat and move around whenever the opportunity presents itself. This will help to minimize leg cramps and ankle swelling. (Don't worry about setting the alarm on your watch to remind yourself to do this: your bladder will encourage you to make washroom treks on a regular basis!) If you end up being confined to your seat for a prolonged period of time, do calf stretches or rotate your ankles — whatever you can reasonably do to stretch your legs while you're stuck in one spot.
• If you're prone to varicose veins, you might want to pick up a pair of support hose (vascular tightening stockings) from your local medical supply store before you hop on board the plane. Flying increases your risk of developing varicose veins. — Ann Douglas
ANN DOUGLAS is the author of ‘The Mother of All Pregnancy Books’ and ‘The Mother of All Baby Books’, and the co-author of ‘Trying Again: A Guide to Pregnancy After Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Death’ and ‘The Unofficial Guide to Having a Baby’. She can be contacted via her website: www.having-a-baby.com.