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Your child and the Environment Guidelines for Parents III

Part 3 Where Children Learn and Play


The warm summer days are wonderful. But what may seem harmless can be very bad for you and your child. The sun is the main cause of skin cancer which is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. A child’s skin is very delicate and can burn easily. The sun’s rays can also do damage to the eyes.

What you can do:

  • Keep babies under 6 months of age out of direct sunlight.
  • Choose a sunscreen made for children with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.
  • Use hats and sunglasses to protect heads and eyes from the sun.
  • Encourage the use of shaded areas for your child’s outdoor activities between 10am and 4pm when the suns rays are the strongest.

Outdoor air pollution

There are many things in the air that can be harmful to children. Ozone is one type of air pollution. Ozone is a colorless gas that is harmful when near the ground and is at its highest levels during the summer in the late afternoon. Ozone pollution can cause breathing problems in children with asthma.

What you can do:

  • Restrict your child’s outdoor activities when health advisories or smog alerts have been issued.
  • Whenever possible, take public transportation, carpool, walk, or ride a bike instead of driving. This will help reduce the amount of air pollution caused by cars.

Insect repellent

Most insect repellents include a chemical called DEET (diethyltoluamide). This chemical is absorbed into the skin and can be harmful to children.

What you can do:

  • Choose an insect repellent that is made for children.
  • Be sure any insect repellent used on your child contains a low level DEET (no more than 10%).
  • Apply insect repellent to clothing when possible, rather than directly on the skin.

Lawn and Garden fertilizers

Many of these products are made with chemicals (pesticides) that are known to cause health problems, especially in children.

What you can do:

  • Use these chemicals only when needed.
  • Do not let your child play on treated lawn until it has been watered twice and the odor of the pesticides has gone away.
  • Read and follow the instructions carefully.

Art supplies

Although arts and crafts projects are a fun way for children to learn, some art supplies can cause health problems in children. While older children can usually use these products safely, most younger children and some children with disabilities cannot. These harmful products include:

  • Enamels
  • Pottery glazes
  • Permanent felt-tip markers
  • Spray fixatives
  • Rubber cement
  • Prepackaged papier mâché

What you can do:

  • Use only “nontoxic” art supplies.
  • Talk to your school to make sure only safe art supplies are being used
  • Always use a well-ventilated room.
  • Look for the ACMI “nontoxic” seal or other information on the label that says the product is safe for children.
  • Read and follow all instructions carefully.

Information on this site is intended for Angel Kids Pediatrics patients only. Always consult your doctor before beginning, modifying, or discontinuing any treatment plan.

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