Summer is upon us, and the kid’s (adults too) are ready for some outdoor fun! Whether we spend it swimming in the pool, riding our bikes, playing in the backyard, or hiking in the woods, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
We as parents should be mindful of the potential dangers during the summer months. Here are a few things to remember when it comes to summer safety.
Practice Water Safety
Adult supervision is one of the most important water safety rules. Parents should always be focused on their children 100% of the time. Please be mindful of the fact that children can drown in just one inch of water.
According to the CDC, drownings are the leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1 to 4, and three children die every day as a result of drowning.
- Be sure your child wears a water safety vest at all times.
- Backyard pools and spas should be surrounded on all four sides by a fence that is at least five feet high, with gates that close and latch automatically.
- While swimming, make sure that an adult is within an arm’s length of the child being watched.
- Learn infant and child CPR, and keep rescue equipment, a phone and any emergency numbers near the pool.
Beat the Heat
Prolonged exposure to hot temperatures can cause heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat stroke. By taking the proper precautionary measures, most heat-related illnesses can be avoided.
- Limit outdoor activities during mid-day sun hours (10 am – 4 pm).
- Make sure that your child is well hydrated when playing outdoors. Keep water on hand at all times. Drink before, during and after being out in the heat.
- Always wear sunscreen on both sunny and cloudy days. Choose products with UVA and UVB protection and an SPF of at least 15 (according to the American Academy of Pediatrics).
- Apply sunscreen liberally 30 minutes before going out into the sun and reapply every two hours – sooner if swimming or sweating.
- Wear protective clothing, including a hat and sunglasses.
- Look for shade whenever possible, and take inside breaks so that you can cool down.
Bike helmets reduce head injuries by 85 percent and brain injury by 88 percent. A helmet is the most important device available that can reduce head injury and death from a bicycle crash, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.
- Make sure your child wears a helmet whenever they are riding on any type of wheels. This includes bicycles, rollerblades, roller skates, skateboards, and scooters.
- Be sure that the helmet is the proper fit. Helmets protect your child from serious injury and can be life-saving.
Prevent Playground Injuries
Emergency departments in the US treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries every year.
Parents can take actions to help prevent injuries on playground equipment. Make sure that your backyard play equipment is safe and the play areas at your local parks or playgrounds.
- Actively supervise your children to make sure they are safe at all times.
- Make sure kids are properly dressed and wearing shoes at all times.
- Make sure that the surfaces under playground equipment are soft and well-maintained.
Poison Ivy, Oak, and Poison Sumac
Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac can cause a severe skin rash when touched.
- When hiking or camping outdoors, avoid bushy, overgrown areas where these plants tend to grow.
- Wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks to protect from possible exposure to these plants.
- You can learn to recognize the visual differences in these plants here.
Protect you and your kids from insect bites by using an effective insect repellent. When we spend time in our backyard, I always have citronella candles burning to keep mosquitoes away. I also use bug repellent to keep those and other pesky critters away.
Keep in mind that most insect repellents are made with DEET, an effective insecticide that is toxic or even potentially deadly if swallowed. If you do use a product containing DEET, it is important not to apply the product to a child’s hands or face to avoid possible ingestion.
It is also important to shower or bathe before bed to remove all of the product so that you avoid overexposure to the chemical. If you prefer an all natural version of insect repellent, Wellness Mama has a great recipe on her blog.
If you spend any time in the woods or areas that are prone to ticks, keep these safety measures in mind:
- Always wear protective clothing (long sleeves and long pants that are tucked into socks).
- Wear some form of tick repellent.
- Perform a tick check on your children daily.
Every family should have a first aid kit at home that is well stocked and easily accessible. It’s also helpful to keep a first aid kit in the car and to take one on road trips. I keep a small one in the glove box and a larger one in our trunk.
Be sure to keep a list of emergency numbers that include 911, your family’s doctor, the dentist’s number, poison control, and any other important phone numbers, such as close relatives.
We all want to enjoy the warm weather, let’s just be sure that we stay safe as well.
Have a great summer!