How to have a healthy, safe summer
Kids at the beach

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..

1

Sun safety

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.

2

Hydration

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.

3

Bike safety

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.

4

Water safety

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.

5

Boundaries

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.

6

Untouchables

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.

7

Fenced in

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.

Quick tip

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.

More safety tips

Pool safety tips
Baby-proofing tips for your kitchen
Baby-proofing tips for your bathroom

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Comments

Comments on "7 Ways to keep your kids safe this summer"

Nancy January 06, 2013 | 11:02 AM

My husband and I recently had our first child, and she's getting to the age (8 months) to where we really need to be more aware of our home surroundings so that we can keep her safe. I'm wondering where most people find fencing and gates that are practical, functional and cost effective? Do most assemble themselves or is it better to hire a pro??

Macy June 05, 2012 | 12:21 PM

I’m so glad I came across this, as I will be nannying for numerous families and eight children total. I’ve always been cautious about these things, but it’s always good to be updated on the new dangers and hazards children can come across. Especially since it’s summertime, I have tried to come up with numerous ways to create fun creative crafts indoors to avoid the heat when they want to play outside. Some of the kids I nanny for have specific needs including different medications and whatnot. I always get particularly nervous when we are swimming as they get so excited and forget about their safety when it comes to slipping on wet floors, going head first in the shallow end etc. I often have to remind them the safety procedures and explain them that this kind of behavior can not only hurt them but their family members as well. By sharing personal stories or maybe one that I’ve head while watching the news, often brings them back down to reality where they realize and understand why their safety is so important. Thankfully, all of them have been enrolled in swim lessons the last few summers so this shouldn’t be news to them! The same goes for bike safety. Some of the families I nanny for live on busy streets. Before I let them out, all four kids know and understand that in order to play outside, one must put the “slow, children playing” sign out in the street for the cars to be alarmed that children are present. Kids can grasp the idea of safety pretty quick as long as you constantly remind them how important it really is.

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