As spring weather turns warmer, every parent's thoughts begin to focus on summer planning. Many families will go to the suburbs while more will stay home and send their children to local day camps. The summer is a happy time when children have more freedom to run, swim and ride their bikes. It is also a time when accidental injuries are more common. Many of these mishaps are unavoidable but a significant number could be avoided with a little common sense and planning. Here is a top-10 pre-summer checklist to help families get ready for vacationing:

1. Sun Protection:

Keep the baby shaded even on cool sunny days I was called three times within one recent week with the same story. "The baby fell asleep in the carriage and was not totally covered by the shade or the umbrella on the carriage, and he woke up with a terrible sun-burn on one side of his face and on the elbow sticking out at his side." The obvious solution to this problem is to keep the baby shaded even on cool sunny days, and to use a sun hat and sun screen if total shade is impossible. The scary thing about this story is that one of the major risk factors for melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, is serious sunburn during the first three years of a child's life.

The best sunscreen is one that is made for babies and children and has an SPF rating of 15 or higher. The lotion should be applied at least every four hours if the child is outdoors. Sun hats, tee shirts for swimming, and light long-sleeved clothing can go a long way in preventing sunburn at any age. Remember, there is no such thing as sun tanning - only sun damage. Even a "healthy"-looking tan is a sign of too much sun. Tanned skin is dried out and over the years will become leathery and wrinkled. As everyone knows by now, repeated sun damage to your skin can lead to skin cancer.

2. Bike Helmets and Other Protective Gear:

All bikers need helmets, and all roller-bladers need helmets plus wrist, elbow, and knee guards. With proper gear, 90% of serious accidents can be avoided.

3. Tick Protection:

To prevent tick bites that could cause illness such as Lyme disease, dark long-sleeved clothing and long pants that can be tucked into socks are needed for playing in tall grass and walking in the woods. Insect repellent containing DEET should be applied to the clothing and also to areas of exposed skin. It is very helpful to get into the habit of checking the child's skin for attached ticks every night. Look for a small raised "freckle" which can be removed with a fine tweezers. A tick that is removed within the first 24 hours of attachment almost never causes disease. If you do remove a tick, wash the area with soap and water and watch the area around the bite for development of a rash with growing demarcated borders. Lyme disease caught in this early stage can be readily treated If such a rash occurs, or if the child who has had a tick bite develops a flu-like illness with aches and fever within a month of the bite, he should be seen and evaluated by a doctor. Lyme disease caught in this early stage can be readily treated with antibiotics and complications can be avoided.

4. Mosquito Bite Protection:

We all know how sweet a little baby is; so do mosquitoes. All infants need mosquito netting over their crib or carriage when they sleep. Older kids are vulnerable to mosquito bites all summer long. If the bites are itching and have flared up, an application of one-percent hydrocortisone cream helps to reduce the redness and swelling, and ice is good for the itch. For fast and safe topical relief, lotions or gels containing "prax" are good. Itch Ex and Clear Caladryl are examples. Benedryl elixir, which is taken orally, is a safe and effective drug for severe itching which interferes with sleep. If a scratched bite becomes infected, a topical antibiotic ointment should be applied.

5. Acute Allergic Reactions:

Allergic reactions can occur at any time due to food, insect bites, inhaled allergens, and contact stimuli. Most of these reactions are mild but annoying. A dose of oral antihistamine like Benedryl or Dimetane or Chlortrimaton will usually alleviate the symptoms of hives, itching eyes and nose, and swelling of the face and lips. If the reaction includes fainting, a swollen tongue or hoarse voice, or a need to clear the throat or if wheezing develops, the antihistamine should be given emergency help should be sought immediately. The use of an "epipen" can be life-saving in these rare but dangerous anaphylactic reactions.

6. Poison Ivy:

The best protection against poison ivy is knowing what it looks like and staying out of it. It has three oblong serrated leaflets and the middle leaflet has a longer stalk than the other two. "Leaflets three—let it be," as the old saying goes. If you or your child does get into poison ivy, wash the skin immediately with soap and water, to remove the offending acid before it causes trouble.

The best protection against poison ivy is knowing what it looks likeIf you see the rash, which is usually found on the arms and exposed skin (and in little boys, on the genitals), repeated applications of one percent hydrocortisone cream will usually relieve the problem.

7. Swimming Safety:

Never let anyone swim alone, or without proper supervision. Make sure your pool or lake employs lifeguards and water-safety professionals and then make sure everyone listens to them. Pool entrances must be securely locked when not in use. We all know of the child who squeezed into the pool area through a loosely chained gate.

8. Preventing Dehydration:

On very hot days, make sure your day campers are given lots of water all day long. A Brooklyn day camp once had 30 children admitted to the emergency room with acute dehydration simply because there was not enough attention paid to drinking. Send canteens and remind counselors to push fluids all day if they are to be outdoors.

9. Emergency Services:

Every camp, every school, every bungalow colony, every day program needs on-site personnel trained in CPR and first aid. It is essential that everyone knows who these people are so they can be called immediately to the scene of an emergency.

Take a CPR courseIt might be a good idea to take a CPR course or to update right now, before the summer. The time might come when only you can save some-one. Be ready. A few months ago, my husband and I used CPR to revive a man whose heart stopped suddenly at a dinner. We kept him alive until an ambulance arrived. He recovered completely, thank G‑d. It could happen to anyone. You could really save a life.

10. Toddler Supervision:

Toddlers are unpredictable and have no common sense. Never leave toddlers in the care of a not-so-much-older youngster, especially in hazardous places. If something bad happens — G d forbid— you can only blame yourself for relying on a seven-year-old to guard your most precious possession. Ask yourself, "Would I leave thousands of dollars in cash out there for him or her to watch?" If the answer is "no," don't leave your toddler either; he is worth a lot more.

Summer safety is a matter of common sense and preparedness. Make it a priority wherever you or your children spend the season.