We definitely want to encourage our children to spend time outside, but we should also teach them how to keep themselves safe while doing so.
When I was young, I remember my Mom removing a tick or two from my body. I was a little grossed out, but there wasn’t a fear of being infected with a serious disease as a result. Today, depending on where you live, a tick bite could infect your child with any number of possible diseases, so learning about tick prevention could actually save their life!
Ticks have been a particular concern for me (just ask my husband and daughter who get sick of hearing me talk about it), since we like to do some geocaching, which often takes place in wooded or grassy areas. Campers and hikers would also more commonly be victims of tick bites, but the truth is, you could get them in your own backyard!
Luckily, there are some fairly simple ways to prevent tick bites. I was even fascinated to find out that it is now possible to buy clothing that has been treated with a substance called Permethrin, that kills ticks but is of no danger to you (good for up to 70 washes). This substance can also be bought to treat your own clothes, although it is only effective for 5-6 washes. The most important thing to treat are your shoes, as ticks can’t jump or fly, so generally make their way onto your body via your shoes. For more information about Permethrin and treating your clothes with it, go to the TickEncounter website.
The below website is a wonderful resource, as it includes almost anything you would ever want to know about ticks, including tick prevention tips, pictures of various types of ticks throughout their life cycles for identification purposes, and instructions on how to properly remove a tick, should you or your child get one on you. Check it out!
The last thing we want to do, especially in this age of child obesity, is to give kids a reason NOT to go outside to play. With a little bit of tick prevention knowledge, we can teach our children how to keep themselves safe in the great outdoors!
If you want to keep your children safe outdoors, you may also be interested in my post on “Identifying Poison Ivy“.