Living Well

5 summer safety tips for kids

Summer is all about fun for you and your family. Before you go outdoors, review these 5 summer safety tips to make sure everyone is protected from the sun.

Summer is all about fun in the sun for you and your family. Whether your child is on break from school, you're taking a day trip to the park, or you're able to take a longer and much-needed vacation together, sun safety should play a role.


1) Protect kids from the sun. If your kids will be outside for an extended period of time, be sure to apply sunscreen before they leave the house. Apply sunscreen with SPF 30+ for kids, and re-apply it if they play in the water or get sweaty from playing sports.

Sunscreen should also be applied and re-applied every two hours for protection. Remind the kids to stick to the shade whenever possible, and have them wear hats or other sun protective clothing. If you have a baby, there is special baby sunscreen (though it's best to keep babies out of the sun, as best you can).

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Shop for Baby Sunscreen

2) Wear sunglasses. Sunglasses are eligible with a Flexible Spending Account, and you'll need a prescription to get reimbursed. Be sure to protect your eyes and your kids' eyes from harmful UV rays with sunglasses.

Shop for Sunglasses with an FSA

3) Get kids appropriate sports gear. According to WebMD, "If your children play team sports, make sure they have appropriate gear. Depending on the sport, this may include a mouth guard, face mask, helmet, pads, and shoes made specifically for the surface your child will play on." In addition, ensure that they're drinking plenty of water before, during and after exercise.

4) Bring a first aid kit. Be sure to pack a first aid kit, especially if you're taking the kids to a playground, a theme park, the beach or elsewhere outdoors. You can leave the kit in the car or carry with you on your person. Keep band-aids, gauze, and other healthy essentials on hand for peace-of-mind and keep kids happy.

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5) Incorporate sun protection with bug spray. Be sure to bring bug spray, especially if you're headed into the woods for a day hike or taking an extended camping trip. FSAstore.com carries a sunscreen with bug spray,so an FSA keeps you covered!

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Keep your kids sun-safe

As temperatures rise this summer, it's important to monitor your child's outdoor activity in terms of keeping them sun safe.

As temperatures rise this summer, it's important to monitor your child's outdoor activity in terms of sun safety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a few tips to consider when you're thinking of sun safety and heat-related illnesses.

According to an article by the CDC, "Heat-related illness happens when the body's temperature control system is overloaded. Infants and children up to 4 years of age are at greatest risk. Even young and healthy people can get sick from the heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather. For heat-related illness, the best defense is prevention."

In the article, the CDC also cautions to never leave children, infants, or pets in a parked car (even with the windows open), to minimize outdoor activity at peak sun times (go out in the early morning and evening instead, if you have that flexibility), keep cool with cool showers and baths, and dress children and infants in appropriate light-colored and sun protective clothing. These are just a few preventive measures to minimize the risk of heat-related illnesses and to keep everyone in your family sun safe.

The CDC further stresses, "Just a few serious sunburns can increase you and your child's risk of skin cancer later in life. Their skin needs protection from the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays whenever they're outdoors."

If you know you'll be out and in the sun for a few hours or at least part of the day, apply and re-apply sunscreen as much as possible. It's recommended that you wear sunscreen on your face every day - even on days where the sun isn't out. Other ways to stay sun safe may include seeking shade, bringing umbrellas and wearing protective clothing and wearing hats, if in direct sunlight for longer periods of time. If you'll be in or near water at any time, be sure to reapply sunscreen after you or your kids leave the water.

Did you know broad spectrum, SPF15+ sunscreen is FSA eligible? You can also buy children's sun protection and baby sunscreen with your Flexible Spending Account.

Shop for all your summer healthy product needs at FSAstore.com!

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Does my child have a cold or allergies?

Sometimes it's hard to tell whether your child is dealing with the common cold or allergies. How can you know? Here are 4 ways to find out on the blog!

With the arrival of a new season comes its own share of health challenges, especially when those pollen counts begin to soar. If you haven't tested your child for seasonal allergies, why not do that this season? Sensitivity to environmental triggers could emerge at any point during adolescence. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell whether you're dealing with the common cold or a direct response to seasonal allergies.

Here are a few ways to know if it's a cold or allergies:

Duration of symptoms

One of the tell-tale signs of allergies is that they will persist for weeks on end. The common cold which typically clears up in 1-2 weeks with rest and treatment. As long as your child is exposed to indoor/outdoor areas with allergy triggers, he/she will continue to experience symptoms throughout the season, so this is a clear indication that a cold is not the culprit.

Nasal discharge color

In the event that your child has contracted a virus, the color of his/her mucous is an important warning sign that can let you know what your child is suffering from. During a cold, mucous becomes thicker, as well as taking on a green or yellow hue, while those suffering nasal congestion from allergies will have clear, thinner mucous. However, it's important to note that sinus infections can sometimes be caused by allergies and will change mucous color to yellow, so be mindful of this when making a diagnosis.

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Fever/Muscle Aches

Allergies can bring about many of the most common cold symptoms, but others only arise in the presence of a virus. A fever and body aches are normal immune system responses, as well as clear signs that the body is fighting an infection and is actively producing antibodies to stave it off. These bodily functions do not occur as a result of allergies.

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Product of the week: Bruder My-Medi Cold Compress for Children

Indoor/Outdoor Symptoms

Last but not least, if you find that your child tends to experience watery eyes, a runny nose or sneezing more often outdoors than at home, this is a clear sign that the allergens present in the environment are triggering his/her symptoms. Endeavor to keep your home as allergen-free as possible by removing clothing at the door, cleaning often and encouraging your child to shower frequently to remove any allergens still present on his/her skin and hair.

Shop for Cold and Allergy products

Spring is here, so make sure you're ready for the worst of allergy season by shopping at FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA-eligible products to help keep you and your loved ones healthy year-round.

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What is the safest sunscreen for kids?

Sun protection is a major consideration for parents. Learn more about the safest sunscreen for kids on this blog post and shop with an FSA.

Spring may seem early to begin talking about proper sun care, but if you have small children, protecting their skin from the sun's rays will take on a new importance as they spend more time outdoors as the season progresses. Sun protection is a major consideration for parents, as recent studies have shown that sustaining just five major sunburns during youth can raise a child's risk of developing life-threatening skin cancers like melanoma by 80 percent.

Sunburns are caused by the skin's absorption of harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which are present whether it's sunny or cloudy, reaching their peak levels between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and are directly tied to the formation of skin cancer. Luckily, if you have a flexible spending account (FSA), your benefit can cover the reimbursement of sunscreen for the whole family. Here are some vital guidelines to consider when choosing a sunscreen for your kids.

Keep babies out of the sun entirely: First things first, if you are a parent of a child younger than 6 months, you should be searching for ways to cover him/her up rather than purchasing a sunscreen! Physicians advise new parents to keep their infants out of sunlight completely if they are under 6 months of age, as sunburn can cause significant pain, fever and even dehydration in newborns, as well as dramatically raising their susceptibility to skin issues later in life. Keep the baby's arms and legs covered in light-colored, lightweight clothing and stick to the shade during his/her first 6 months.

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Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher: A sunscreen's sun protection factor (SPF) is a measure of the item's ability to prevent UV rays from harming the skin, which is a huge consideration for small children who will experience long periods of sun exposure. For instance, if a person's skin can remain unprotected in the sun for 30 minutes without burning, an SPF 15 product will theoretically protect the wearer for 15 times longer, or for 7.5 hours. SPF 15 is the bare minimum for a child's sun care regimen, so feel free to go for a stronger variant for very young children or kids with skin that is more susceptible to sunburn.

Broad spectrum protection: The classification of "broad spectrum" refers to sunscreens that block all forms of ultraviolet rays. UV radiation is broken up into two primary wavelengths: UVA (long-wave) and UVB (short-wave) radiation. UVA and UVB rays contribute to premature skin aging, eye damage and most skin cancers, and UVA rays make up about 95 percent of all UV radiation reaching the Earth's surface, while the other 5 percent is UVB rays. While UVB rays are the chief cause of sunburn and damage the outermost layers of the skin, UVA rays can penetrate down to the dermis level and can spark the development of some skin cancers. Simply put, if it's not "broad spectrum," it won't do the job!

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Water resistance: Sunscreen that can stand up to water during swimming or sweat during heavy activity is a major concern for the product's efficacy, especially with active children. The Federal Drug Administration has ruled that sunscreens that are considered "water-resistant" will continue protect wearers for at least 40 minutes after application. Because no sunscreen is 100 percent waterproof, it's vital that wearers re-apply throughout the day to maintain a full spectrum of protection.

Shop for Water-Resistant Sunscreen

With a long summer of fun in the sun ahead, make sure to support the wellness of your entire family by shopping at FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA-eligible products to help you maximize the potential of your benefits!

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Tips for Kids Sports & Activities

As your child grows older, he or she will likely want to participate in a sporting activity. Start discussing the possibilities and learn more in this post.

As your child grows older, he or she will likely want to learn and participate in a sporting activity. Maybe it starts with kicking around a ball in the backyard or racing his or her friends around the block. Maybe they grew up watching famous athletes on TV and already have an idea of what they sport they want to pursue. If they don't though, how do you choose which type of sports to sign your kid up for?

Aside from that, your Flexible Spending Account can keep a role in your entire family's activity, or exploring a new one together. You can use an FSA to get a physical exam, or use it to buy hot and cold therapy packs, or even get elastic tape like KT Tape, which the pros use.

There are some things to consider when picking the right one. Some children have certain body types or athletic abilities that make them more fit for some sports than others. Depending on where you live, certain sports are more feasible or popular. You'll also want to see what's more suitable for desired by your child: an individual or group sport.

Follow these steps to figuring out what's the best option:

1. Get a check-up before participating in any sport activity. A physical exam is important for you to discuss with the doctor whether your child is fit for the physical demands of certain sports. Children are often injured in sports because they are prepared for it or have a limitation such as asthma or joint issue they don't know about. Physical exams are an eligible medical expense with your Flexible Spending Account.

2. Expose your child to a bunch of different sports experiences as a spectator and see which one they respond most enthusiastically to. Actively discuss the various sports with him.

3. Discuss and make observations on whether your child would prefer to do a team sport or individual sport. With a team sport like soccer and basketball, they play a role on a team and have to depend on each other for success. With an individual sport like swimming or golf, their own skills matter most.

4. Try more than one sport and spend one-on-one time learning skills crucial for each sport. Luckily, sports are often spread out throughout the seasons so that maybe you can play soccer in the spring, football in the fall, and so on. Honing skills is important for improvement and also quality time. Spending time in the backyard playing catch or dribbling a ball both allows your kid to learn skills in a non-threatening and low stress environment.

Take time to explore options, practice often, and support your child throughout the process of playing sports. It's a big and exciting undertaking.

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Keeping Your Baby Healthy This Winter

While healthcare is important year-round, there are some ailments that particularly occur in the winter. Baby immune systems are easily targeted by colds.

According to an article from Parents.com, parents should pay particular attention when taking babies outside in the winter to ensure they stay warm.The article warns, "If you do venture out, dress your munchkin in layers. Tots 12 months and older require the same amount of clothing as you do, and younger babies need one extra layer, says Robert Bonner, M.D., a pediatrician at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia. A hat is a must, and be sure to protect your snow bunny's fingers and toes. He'll need waterproof boots once he'swalking."

Products covered by your FSA:

  1. Baby Thermometers. Parents.com cautions that if an infant has a fever over 100.4F, parents call a doctor right away. You can also buy baby aspirin with an FSA, and this product requires a prescription for reimbursement with your FSA.
  2. Nasal aspirators and saline solution. If you think your baby might have a cold, you can help fight a stuff nose with nasal aspirators or saline solution.If you suspect your baby has flu-like symptoms, connect with a doctor immediately.
  3. Medicator bottles. If you need administer some type of medication, there are special medicatorsthat deliver medications in a pain-free way and keep your baby comfortable.
  4. Breast Pumps & Accessories (cleaning wipes, storage bags, nipple shields, etc.).According to Parents.com, "Another way to ward off bugs: "Continuebreastfeedingas long as possible," Dr. Hersey says.Breast milksupplies your child with antibodies that can help her fight illnesses."
  5. Baby sunscreen (SPF 15+). While some may think that sun care is only relevant in sunny weather or in the midst of summer, baby skin is fragile and requires protection from the elements.
Shop for all of these Baby Care items at FSA Store.

Products requiring a prescription for FSA reimbursement:

  • Baby aspirin
  • Chest rubs
  • Diaper rash cream

Medical services:

  • Vaccinations/Immunizations
Parents.com adds, "For tots younger than 5, the flu isn't only an inconvenience; it can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia that could land your baby in the hospital. That's why a flu vaccine, which can prevent 66 percent of infections in young children, is an absolute must for kids 6 months of age and older, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says."

Discover services and products for baby care covered by your FSA via the Eligibility List.

Related posts:

Spotlight on Medela

A Guide to Breastfeeding with your FSA

Are Diapers FSA eligible?