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08:28 AM

3 Tips From a Pediatrician For a Safe Summer

Dr. Diane covers Sunscreen, DEET and Life Jackets

Hello, friends!

Summer is nearly here! Let's quickly hit some of the most common questions I get around this time of year - about sunscreen, DEET, and life jackets.

1. Sunscreen:

Use it! Even on a cloudy, not-very-hot day! 80% of the sun's rays penetrate clouds! And bounce off sand and snow!

Start using it at age 6 months. Prior to 6 months, do not have your baby in direct sunlight - put them under heavy shade and put a hat on them. If you can't find shade, use sunscreen on small amounts of their skin and try to cover skin with clothing.

Go with SPF 30-50 for your kids. I don't care about brand.

Zinc oxide (the stuff that won't disappear when you rub it in) is the best. It physically blocks the harmful rays. Great for nose, ears, cheeks, tops of shoulders.

Put it on 15-30 min BEFORE YOU GO OUT.

Reapply every 2 HOURS.

PUT ON MORE THAN YOU THINK YOU NEED. 1 teaspoon per limb is about right. 1 tsp for back, 1 tsp for chest. 1/2 tsp for face.

I don't like the sprays. They miss spots and can be inhaled. If you have to use them, spray a ton on your hands and rub it it in good.

More good info about sunscreen here:…/

2. DEET:

DON'T BE SCARED OF IT. It is not "DDT"! It is safe down to age 2 months. It is the BEST way to prevent insect bites and this has been proven time and again in medical studies.

Read a ton about this in another article I wrote here:

If you absolutely don't want to use DEET, go with Picaridin.

Those wrist bands ain't gonna do anything.

3. Life jackets!

Use only life jackets that are approved by the US Coast Guard.

Here are the types (compliments of the AAP Healthy Children website):

TYPE 1: This jacket floats the best. It is designed to turn most people who are unconscious in the water from the face-down position to an upright and slightly backward position. This jacket helps the person to stay in that position for a long time. It is to be used in open water and oceans. It is available in only 2 sizes: 1 size for adults more than 90 pounds and 1 size for children less than 90 pounds. (Type 1 is the most bulky but has the greatest ability to turn a child "face-up".)

TYPE 2: This jacket can turn a person upright and slightly backward but not as much as the Type 1 jacket. It may not always help an unconscious person to float face up. It is comfortable and comes in many sizes for children. (More comfy but will only turn SOME children "face-up".)

TYPE 3: This jacket is designed for conscious users in calm, inland water. It is very comfortable and comes in many styles. This life jacket is often used for water sports and should be used only when it is expected that the rescue can be done quickly. (Least bulky, most comfortable. Good support for children who have some swimming skills.)

This summer, I will be using Type 1 lifejackets for my kids when we go to the ocean or are at the lake. I will be using Type 2 when we are in the wading pool. My kids are 2 and 4 and I will be within a few feet of them at all times when they are in/around water.


Let me say that again: DROWNING IS SILENT.

Cook Children's has a great drowning prevention resource page. Click here to learn more.

Hope this helps answer your burning hot summer questions!


Dr. Diane Arnaout


Get to know Diane Arnaout, M.D.

Dr. Diane Arnaout joined the Cook Children's Willow Park practice in 2011. You can stay connected with Dr. Arnaout and the Willow Park practice on Facebook. Dr. Arnaout was born and raised in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. She attended college at Texas A&M University and medical school at the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio. She did her pediatric internship and residency at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital and M.D. Anderson at the Texas Medical Center in Houston, TX where she served as a leader on the medical education committees. She is a board-certified pediatrician. Click to learn more.

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