How to have a healthy, safe summer
Children look forward to the end of the school year and the long days of summer vacation. Keep kids safe and healthy to enjoy the freedom and fun of summer!
Fun and safe in the sun: Summer safety tips
You want them to be active and have fun, but remember there are potential hazards, so keep them safe to enjoy these days of freedom and outdoor activities..
The sun can quickly burn tender skin. Most children get 20-80 percent of lifetime exposure to the sun before they turn 18! Always make sure your kids are wearing sunscreen before they head outdoors, and reapply every two hours. Sweat and water will wash the protection away! Infants should be kept out of direct sunlight and wear sun-protective clothing. Teach toddlers and older kids to grab a hat with a brim for additional protection.
Make sure kids drink plenty of water on hot summer days. Dizziness and nausea are just two of the signs of overheating, which can lead to heat exhaustion. Drinking water regularly helps cool the body — sugary drinks and carbonated beverages containing caffeine actually accelerate dehydration.
Never leave an infant or child unattended in a car. This rule is more critical than ever in hot months when the temperature inside a vehicle can soar to above 100 degrees in a matter of minutes. That heat is deadly.
Kids have bike-related injuries every year, but these accidents can be avoided or minimized with some precautions. Your child should always wear a helmet when riding. This protective gear reduces the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent. Inspect bikes, tricycles, skateboards and scooters to be sure they function correctly — brakes and gears working, tires properly inflated, reflectors in place. Explain rules for safe play — riding only on the sidewalk or designated bike path, no riding near cars and no side-trips that put them in danger from traffic or natural hazards. Parents should actively supervise younger children.
Enroll kids in swim lessons taught by a certified instructor. Always have children wear proper-fitting life vests in a boat or near deep water. Take precautions if you have a home pool — four-sided fencing and alarm alerts. Never allow children to swim alone. A responsible adult should always be present — children need constant supervision around water.
Children relish the freedom of summer, but set some boundaries. Have them play within sight and sound of home, or by arrangement at a friend's where there will be adult supervision. Until they reach a certain age and maturity, kids should not go to the park or other places alone. Parents must always know exactly where their children are and who they are with.
Kids are naturally curious so keep household, yard and garage dangers stored away. Weed killers and yard chemicals, radiator coolant and other solvents are poisonous to children and pets. Keep them out of sight and out of reach.
If possible, provide a safe play area for your children that's fenced in and in sight from the house. Ideally this space will have room for them to run and play, be cleared of items that are hazards (lawnmowers, sharp gardening implements, etc.) and have a shaded area so kids can get out of the hot sun.
Even a small wading pool can pose a danger to toddlers. Never allow small children in the water without an adult to supervise! Since water reflects sunlight, be sure the kids are protected with sunscreen and not exposed to direct sun for too long before it is reapplied.
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