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Baby Summer Safety Guide

There you two are at the park, coated in sunblock, fully hydrated, enjoying the clouds and the birds and the swings when a *%@! bee sticks his behind in your sweetie's chubby thigh and ruins it all. Double *%@! Use our guide to sidestep the season's safety traps, and find out what to do if any bees (or jellyfish or sand throwers) try to cross your path

Sneaky beach bummers

sand It's so soft and squishy, but it can sizzle little feet as well as irritate the mouth and eyes when it (inevitably) becomes airborne.
play it safe Keep your baby's sandals or water shoes on, especially on extra-hot days. When you get to your spot, plop him down facing you so you can keep an eye out for taste-testing, throwing, or blowing sand. If the grit gets in his mouth, do what you can to rinse it (you may have to wipe it out). For sand in his eyes, try to flush them with fresh water -- he'll scream, but getting even a little in will help. If he's still rubbing after an hour, seek medical attention to be sure there are no scratches or particles left under the eyelid, says Andrea McCoy, M.D., director of outpatient pediatrics at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia.

rip currents These powerful channels of water that flow away from shore can occur at any beach with breaking waves -- the Great Lakes included. Some are so strong you can even lose your footing in knee-deep water, says B.J. Fisher, health and safety director for the American Lifeguard Association in Vienna, Virginia.
play it safe Head into the water near a lifeguard tower, and check the current conditions before you go in (either ask the guard or look for posted signs). Hold your little dipper's hand as he gets his feet wet; and if you go for a double dip, stay close to shore. If you feel yourself getting pulled out, try not to panic (this is very important!). Swim parallel to the beach until you break free -- it won't be far; most rips are quite narrow.

jellyfish These ocean ouchies are frequent problems for swimmers. And you don't even have to be in the water to encounter one -- you can actually get stung on the beach. Some can be hard to spot because they're small and transparent, but other jellyfish can be a beautiful blue that might attract a child to go up and touch it. The big guys (man-of-wars) might even look like soccer balls underwater.
play it safe Avoid, avoid, avoid -- obviously. But should you or your baby fall within a tentacled grip, head straight to the lifeguard station for aid. They'll have supplies that can help minimize the pain.

shells They sure are fun to hunt, but jagged ones can cause big-time boo-boos, and small ones can be easy-to-overlook choking hazards.
play it safe Shoes go far here as well, but, let's face it, some kids just love going barefoot. If yours gets a cut, just head to the bathroom to wash it out with soap and water, then ask the lifeguard for a bandage. If the bleeding doesn't stop after applying ten minutes of pressure, head to the ER. Otherwise, apply an over-the-counter triple antibiotic ointment when you get home, and call your doctor if any signs of infection (redness and swelling) develop.

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