Nothing takes a Summer from terrific to terrible like a tick bite. Found in backyards, woods, and campgrounds across the country, these tiny critters carry a number of diseases, the most common being Lyme disease. The disease can lie dormant for months, even years, and if left untreated can cause damage to the joints, heart, and nervous system. To keep your child safe from this potentially deadly disease, it is important to take some precautions before they head outside. Here are several tips to stop ticks in their path and what to do if one latches on to your little one.
Source: Flickr user John Tann 
Know Your Surroundings
Ticks thrive in moist and humid environments, particularly woody areas. Try to avoid going out after a Summer rainstorm, and encourage your children to play in more open areas of the backyard.
Source: Flickr user Alison Christine 
Shorts and a t-shirt may keep kids cool in the heat, but it also makes it easier for ticks to attack. If your child plans on playing outdoors, dress them in a long shirt and pants tucked into their socks. For extra protection, spray their clothes with a permethrin repellent  an hour before they plan on going outside.
Source: Flickr user Max California 
A good bug spray keeps more than mosquitos away. Invest in a kid-friendly repellent  to help your tot ward off ticks.
Source: Flickr user Morag Riddell 
If your family plans on hitting the trails, stay at the center of the path. Because it is dryer, it is more likely to be free from the tiny creatures.
Source: Flickr user yooperann 
Once your child is ready to call it a day, give them a quick rinse. This will help loosen any ticks that may have attached to their skin.
Source: Flickr user Steven Depolo 
Check Their Bodies
After your child showers, give them a thorough inspection. Make sure to comb through these areas where ticks are more likely to latch on:
- Under the arms
- In and around the ears
- Inside belly button
- Back of the knees
- In and around the hair
- Between the legs
- Around the waist
Source: Flickr user dwizzy 
If You Do Find a Tick. . .
First, don't panic. Ticks are fairly easy to remove and treat if found early enough. Using tweezers, grasp the tick firmly at its head or mouth, next to the skin. Pull firmly and steadily — do not twist — until the tick lets go of the skin. Swab the bite site with alcohol. Once you have discarded the tick and washed your hands, call a doctor to describe the area around the tick. They will let you know if you should seek further medical attention.
Source: Flickr user mikael altemark