Have Your Kids Leap into a Healthy Spring

Healthy Kids

Spring is finally here! That means the days are getting longer, the plants are beginning to bloom and outdoor play time is in full swing. Although the springtime is exciting, as a parent it is important to know the health and safety concerns that may affect your children.

Neighbors Emergency Center offers these tips to keep your kids healthy during the spring.

1. Always Apply Sunscreen
After the cold winter months, everyone is excited to spend some much-needed time in the sun. Although there are benefits to soaking up the sunlight, excessive exposure can have damaging effects. Unprotected sun exposure can lead to burns, changes in skin texture and skin cancer. Make sure your kiddos are well covered with sunscreen. Whether they are spending the day at the park, or playing a game of outdoor soccer, this is a step you don’t want to miss. What should you look for in a sunscreen? Make sure the sunscreen you choose contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These ingredients are effective, safe and work well with children who have sensitive skin. You will also want to make sure you have a sunscreen with an SPF of 30-50. Although sticks and sprays are popular types of sunscreens, lotions and creams provide better overall coverage on the skin.

2. Closely Monitor Outdoor Sports and Activities
Springtime sports are now underway. From soccer and track, to baseball and swimming, your kids will be involved in a lot of physical activity. Although it is recommended that kids who play sports stay active year-round, it is common for the winter months to bring children to an inactive halt. If your child has been dormant during the winter and is beginning a new springtime sport, it is important they ease themselves into the activity slowly for the upcoming season. Make sure they warm up properly, as well as stretch afterwards on a regular basis. Be mindful of any injuries they may get and emphasizes that they should never play through injuries. If your child does acquire a nagging pain that won’t go away (after resting and icing), a doctor’s visit will be necessary. Of course, if an emergency injury arises on the field, seek emergency care immediately. In addition, children tend to overheat much faster than adults. This is why it is important they stay hydrated and drink plenty of water prior to playing sports, as well as during and after sporting events.

3. Make Sure They Get Extra Rest
With Daylight Savings time in full effect, our clocks have officially moved up an hour. For children, the transition of losing an hour of sleep can be difficult. Although an hour may seem like a small amount of time, it can deeply impact if children feel sleepy or exhausted during the day. It is tempting as a parent to let your children sleep in the first few weeks of this time change so they can catch up on sleep. However, it is suggested that what is most important for children is to keep their sleep schedule consistent. Wake your children up at the same time, and keep their bedtime the same, even if they insist they are not tired. The same strict schedule applies to children who take naps during the day. In addition, the more your kids play during the springtime, the more time they will need to rest their bodies and their minds at night. Remember, the recommended sleep time for children is more than the average 6-8 hours for an adult. The suggested sleep times for children is:
10-13 hours for preschoolers (ages 3-4)
9-11 hours for school aged children (ages 6-13)
8-10 hours for teenagers (ages 14-17)

4. A Balanced Diet
Keeping your children’s diet balanced and healthy is a great way to keep them active year-round. Incorporate in-season fruits and vegetables into your kids’ snacks, lunches and dinner.  An important part of staying healthy includes keeping junk foods to a minimum. Because you and your family are bound to be on the go more this spring, plan ahead when picking out snacks, and beware of “sneaky” junk foods at the grocery store. These include foods like crackers, fruit gummies and fruit drinks. Although seemingly healthy snacks, or labeled as “low-fat” snacks, they are full of high amounts of sugars and syrups. It is better to simply offer your child a piece of fruit, or a small bag of veggies. Springtime snacks that are easy to take on the go include carrots, pineapples and mangos. Vegetables you can incorporate into dinner are artichokes, avocados, peas, potatoes and spinach.

5. Prepare for Allergies
When the springtime comes, airborne allergies go on the rise. From weeds and grass, to tree pollens, just standing outside can cause children to have itchy, watery eyes and begin sniffing and sneezing. For others with more extreme allergies, coughing and wheezing will begin. Being proactive is key to fighting springtime allergies. Don’t wait for children to start experiencing symptoms before you introduce their nasal sprays and antihistamines back into their daily routine. Start giving your children their daily dose of medicine in the morning, so that by the time they arrive at school, they will be protected from the day’s allergies. But be aware of the side-effects of your children’s allergy medicine, such as eye and sinus disease. Additional information can be found through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We hope you and your family enjoy all the wonderful experiences that springtime in Texas has to offer!

If you find yourself in need of emergency medical services, remember we have several Neighbors Emergency Center locations throughout Texas. Our board-certified physicians and state-of-the-art technology make it easy for us to care for your family’s medical emergencies.