Summer is a favorite time of year for many children – and for good reason. The long days of summer provide a much-anticipated break from school and are often filled with swimming, cookouts, travel, and outdoor fun. But summer can also carry danger for children. Drowning incidents increase during the summer months, and the hot sun puts kids at risk of sunburn, dehydration, and heat-related illness.
Whether your kids are enjoying summer at home, on the road, or at camp, address these safety topics with your family to keep them healthy and happy.
Summer Safety for Kids
1. Keep watch to prevent drowning.
Summer water safety should be top of mind for parents, regardless if you have a pool in your backyard or visit a community pool. It only takes seconds for drowning to happen. Actively supervise children, at all times, when in or around water, and make sure you have the right equipment to keep pools safe.
2. Look for signs of heat exhaustion.
Cases of heat stroke spike during the summer months and this can be life-threatening in children. Prior to heatstroke, kids often show milder symptoms such as heat cramps and heat exhaustion. Make sure children take water breaks and wear lightweight clothing when playing outside.
3. Check for car safety.
Make sure your child’s car seat is properly fitted before hitting the road for a family vacation. Never leave a child unattended in a car. The temperature inside a car can rise quickly, and just a few minutes can be the difference between life and death. Establish a routine to check the car prior to locking.
4. Protect skin from the sun.
Apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher whenever your child is going to be outdoors. Reapply every three hours or immediately after your child has been in or splashed by water. Try to avoid outdoor activities during peak sunshine hours, and consider dressing children in sun-protective clothing.
5. Avoid bug bites.
As the weather warms up, bugs come out in full force. To avoid bug bites, apply insect repellant before spending time outdoors, avoid using heavily scented soaps or lotions, and cover arms and legs as much as possible.
6. Enjoy fireworks safely.
More than 10,000 people are treated in emergency departments in the U.S. each year due to injury from fireworks, and of these, nearly a third are children under 15. If you are celebrating summer holidays with a bang, keep kids safe. Read instructions carefully, and never let young children touch or light fireworks.
7. Drink enough water.
Kids are more prone to dehydration than adults, and their risk increases as temperatures rise. The amount of water a child should drink varies by age, weight, and activity level. However, a general rule is to take half of your child’s weight (up to 100 pounds) – and that’s the number of ounces of water they should drink every day.
8. Don’t monkey around.
Playground-related injuries account for more than 200,000 ER visits each year. Always supervise children on playgrounds and choose the right play equipment for your child’s age and skills. In the summer sun, it is also a good idea to touch equipment to check for hot surfaces before playing on it.
9. Wear a life jacket on boats.
If you are heading to the lake to cool off this summer, make sure to bring a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device. A properly fitted life jacket is snug, yet comfortable, and will not move above the chin or ears when you lift it at the shoulders.
10. Ride bikes the smart way.
Apart from automobiles, bicycles are related to more childhood injuries than any other consumer product. Wearing a helmet is the first rule to preventing serious bicycle injuries in kids. Make sure bikes and helmets fit kids properly and follow smart rider rules.