The team at Northern Light Surgery and Trauma has developed a list of helpful tips to keep kids of all ages safe during these carefree but busy days of summer.

Bug and insect safety

With summer comes those pesky little flying, biting critters, the dreaded mosquito! Ways to minimize attracting them to snack on you include:

• Sunscreen/insect repellent combination products should not be used. Sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours, where insect repellent should not. If you are in an area with high mosquito population, consider using insect repellent containing DEET to aid in prevention of insect-related disease (Note: American Association of Pediatrics and the CDC DO NOT recommend using DEET on children under 2 months of age.)

• Children should wash the repellent off when they come inside from playing.

• When outside in the evenings or other times when there are a lot of mosquito’s present, wear long sleeved shirts, pants, and socks to prevent bites, wear hats, tuck pants into socks to protect against ticks when walking in the woods, high grasses, or bushes. Check hair and skin for ticks at the end of the day.

Lawn mower safety

• Only use a mower with a control that stops the mower blade from moving if the handle is let go. Children younger than 16 years should not be allowed to use ride-on mowers. Children younger than 12 years should not use walk-behind mowers.

• Always turn off the mower and wait for the blades to stop completely before removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, or crossing gravel paths, roads, or other areas.

• Keep guards, shields, switches, and safety devices in proper working order at all times.

Bicycle safety

A helmet protects you from serious injury and should be worn at all times. Wear a helmet on every bike ride, no matter how short or how close to home. Many injuries happen in driveways, on sidewalks, and on bike paths, not just on streets. Also, children learn best by observing you. Set the example: Whenever you ride, put on your helmet.
• When purchasing a helmet, look for a label or sticker that says the helmet meets the CPSC safety standard.

• A helmet should be worn so that it is level on the head and covers the forehead, not tipped forward or backwards. The strap should be securely fastened with about two fingers able to fit between chin and strap. The helmet should be snug on the head, but not overly tight. Skin should move with the helmet when moved side to side. If needed, the helmet’s sizing pads can help improve the fit.

• Take your child with you when you shop for the bike, so that he or she can try it out. The value of a properly fitted bike far outweighs the value of surprising your child with a new one. Buy a bike that is the right size, not one your child has to “grow into.” Oversized bikes are especially dangerous.

• Your child should ride on the right, facing the same direction as traffic, and should be taught to obey all stop signs and other traffic control devices. Children should never ride at night.

These helpful tips and more can be found by visiting the Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center website at

The information contained here should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your physician. There may be variations in treatment that your provider may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.