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Barbecues, bubbles, sunshine, and s’mores. That’s summer in a nutshell for the Schaffer Six. With new explorations and lots of family travel this summer, I’ve made it my mission to be prepared for summer mishaps before they happen. With a new set of soul-stretching adventures for our active and fearless family, I’m ready to take on bug bites and boo-boos like nobody’s business.

From the roaring rapids of Colorado to the pristine bay of San Diego, our kids are exploring some old and new terrain this year. While some of my kids are magnets for mosquitoes, my others get cuts and scrapes running wild and free. As their mom, I need to be prepared for common ailments that can arise during these exploratory summer months.

boys on inner tube on a lakemom hugging her childkids in intertube kids fishing

Prepare For & Prevent Bug Bites

Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson of Seattle Mama Doc created a video with three tips for summer safety. She recommends finding an EPA-registered insect repellent and keeping it away from a child’s eyes, mouth, and nose. Know Your OTC’s is the one resource every parent should know about, and for the ultimate convenience, I recommend saving it right on your desktop. The information provided on skin protectants addresses several common skin issues including insect bites.

While some skin protectants are designed to temporarily protect minor cuts, scrapes, or burns, others help to relieve skin itching from rashes and insect bites. These over-the-counter skin protectants help seal the affected area to keep dirt and germs out. Dr. Swanson notes that if you or your child has a strong reaction to bug bites, they may be more susceptible to allergic reactions, which could last for days. In this case, it’s safe to use anti-allergy meds (diphenhydramine) for itchiness from bites and over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream/ointment on bites that aren’t scratched open.

kids jumping into waterkids cliff jumping kids by the poolfamily in the back of car

When Kids Can’t Stop Scratching

Some older kids might have the knowledge and restraint not to scratch those bug bites. For little ones, try a few of these tips to help.

  1. Consider OTC allergy medicines (aka diphenhydramine).
  2. Use an emery board to soften your child’s nails so that when they scratch in their sleep, they are less likely to break the skin because their nails are soft.
  3. Cover up bites that drive kids crazy with band-aids or clothing as a cue for them not to scratch (the cycle of scratching and itching can go on and on — avoiding the scratch helps them calm down).

Check out all my summer ideas on the City Girl Gone Mom Pinterest board!

mom and kids at pool kids in intertube family at the beachkid in lifejacket

Prevention Is Key

With a love for s’mores and glampouts, whether in our own yard or in the wilderness, staying outside after the sun goes down has become the summer norm for our tribe. Unfortunately, these warm and starry summer nights come with unwelcome insects. With prevention top of mind, we start with long sleeves and pants to help protect the kids. Insect repellant comes next!

We also give thought to where they play and the time of day. Additionally, we avoid using smelly perfumes and shampoos and we check the screens on doors and windows to ensure insects don’t make their way inside the house. Healthy Children, another great resource for parents, has useful tips on how long different types of bug sprays last. Plus how to teach your children bug bite prevention tips, which is especially useful for those with older kids going to sleep away camp.

family hiking through waterboys playing on the beach kids in a sack race kids roasting marshmallows

Tips For Parents Using Bug Repellent:

Prepare for those nasty summer bugs! We definitely want to keep those itchy, bitey bugs away from our kids! Here are a few tips for the best use of repellant for your little ones.

  1. Don’t use bug spray on young infants.
  2. Only apply spray and repellant to healthy skin and on the outside of clothes.
  3. Apply bug spray 15-20 minutes before going outdoors.

Have you listened to my podcast? Check out The Mom Confidential!

man with his doggirl summertime fun boy climbing tree brothers having fun

Preventing Cuts & Scrapes

My kids are beyond active, constantly running around like they’re in the last stretch of the Amazing Race. To them, the faster they’re going means the more fun they’re having. As expected, this high adrenaline lifestyle makes them even more prone to cuts and scrapes. So I always keep an arsenal of band-aids and topical antibiotic ointment in my home, car, and bag.

My youngest, Brody, is always trying to keep up with his older siblings. As soon as he wakes up in the morning, the first thing on his mind is “Where are my brothers and sister?” And “How can I get in on the fun”? With his fearless attitude, mom’s been kissing a lot of boo-boos. But after having four kids, I think I’ve finally mastered being prepared to take care of a wound and staying calm during the process.

According to Dr. Swanson, running a wound under water for 30 seconds to two minutes is more than enough to clean it out. Pat it dry and put some antibiotic ointment on the wound for no more than one to three days. Cover it with a band-aid allowing a little air in it and you’re good to go.

family sitting outside family hiking through river family at lake tahoeboy on canoe

Be Ready for Childhood

My children’s imaginations inspire me every day. Their creativity is constant, and watching them play together is not only a great source of entertainment, but I can see the love they have for one another. Their explorations still seem to come with incidents, however, making me panic at times (I’m only human!).

As much as I hope getting down to my little one’s level to kiss a boo-boo can cure it all, being prepared and remembering to take a deep breath will actually help to ease what could be a chaotic situation. I feel more in control and can let my little ones take their explorations to much greater heights with the satisfaction of knowing I’m prepared this summer. has been an excellent resource for me over the years, and I hope it can be for you, too. family canoeing on riverfunny summer quoteoutdoor family funboy fishing


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13 thoughts on “Prepare Your Kids for Summer In the Great Outdoors”

  1. Great tips! Bugs are all over my skin anytime I’m out of the house and we keep big repellent in home and in the diaper bag!

  2. Thank you for these tips! My husband is allergic to mosquito bites and we have concerns our little guy may develop the same. I’m always searching for new ways to protect ourselves!


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