Summer Safety Tips to Keep Kids Safe

Written By: Mary M. Alward
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It won't be long until kids run from the school, shrieking in delight because they're free for the summer. They'll be spending time in the sunshine, riding bikes, camping, swimming and enjoying life in general. However, there are a multitude of dangers lurking in your neighborhood and you must be aware of them. They include infection from bug bites and bee stings, swimmer's ear, drowning, bike accidents and more. Here are some tips to help you keep your kids safe this summer.

Sun Safety

Limit sun exposure between the hours of 11am and 5pm. This is the hottest part of the day. Try to stay in the shade as much as possible during these hours, or try to schedule activities for early morning or evening.

When possible keep your children covered. Make them wear a hat or visor with a brim that is a minimum of 3 inches.

Sunglasses should block all ultra-violet rays in order to protect your child's eyes.

Sunscreen should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Reapply after swimming and every 2 hours.

Use sunscreen on cloudy days. Clouds don't block ultra-violet rays. Apply sunscreen at least a half hour before going outside.

Babies should be dressed in lightweight clothing with long pants and sleeves. They should always wear a peaked or brimmed hat. Apply sunscreen to exposed skin and keep Baby in the shade.

Heat

If children are active in the heat of the day, take the following precautions:

Limit activity to 15 minutes.

Keep kids well hydrated. A child weighing 90 pounds or less needs 5 ounces of water every 20 minutes. For youths over 90 pounds, 9 ounces every 20 minutes.

Dress kids of all ages in lightweight, light-colored clothing that is made from cotton. Synthetics are warmer than cottons.

If clothing becomes wet from sweat, replace it with dry clothing.

Playground

Playgrounds are made for kids to have fun, but they can also be dangerous. Keep kids safe by:

Checking to ensure all equipment is well maintained.

Taking your kids to playgrounds that have a 6 inch safety mat installed.

Ensuring children cannot reach moving parts of playground equipment.

Never allow children to wear clothing with drawstrings when playing on equipment.

Never allow kids to attach skipping ropes, leashes or other items to equipment. They can be easily strangled.

Never allow kids to play on home trampolines.

Always supervise your kids when they're playing on equipment.

Insect Safety

Insects are important in the balance of nature. Keep kids safe from insect bites and stings.

Do not use scented hairspray, soap or perfume on your kids.

Never dress your child in brightly colored clothing or in fabrics that resemble flowers.

Do not allow your kids to play in areas where insects nest or near flower gardens.

If an insect stinger is embedded in your child's flesh and is visible, remove it using tape, your fingernail or a debit or credit card.

If your child is stung, be alert to the signs of allergic reaction.

Use insect repellants that contain between 10% and 30% DEET.

Swimming Pool

Every year children drown in swimming pools. Don't allow your child to become a statistic.

All swimming pools should be fenced according to your city's bylaw.

Never install a swimming pool fence that is less than5 feet. Children can easily scale lower fences.

Install spring-loaded gates in your pool fencing that open from the pool area.

Never leave a child unattended in a pool for any reason. Children can drown in seconds.

Stay within arm's reach of kids under the age of 6 years.

If you have a pool at home, keep rescue equipment in an easily accessible area.

Equip children with safety approved life vests and do not let them use swimming aids such as floaters or noodles. These give kids a false sense of security.

Skateboards and Scooters

Skateboards and scooters are lots of fun as long as they are used properly.

Children using skateboards and scooters must always wear a safety approved helmet.

Do not allow youngsters or teens to ride skateboards or scooters in traffic.

The safest place for kids to use a skateboard is in a monitored skateboard park.

Bikes

There's nothing greater for a kid than biking with their friends. Assure they remain safe.

Kids shouldn't learn to ride a two - wheeler before they are 4 years old.

Young children should not ride a bike that is equipped with hand brakes. The old foot brakes are much safer if brakes have to be applied quickly.

Kids should try-out bikes before they are purchased to ensure a good fit.

Children should never be given a bike to grow into. Bikes that are too large are extremely dangerous.

Fit your kids with bicycle helmets that are safety approved and ensure that they wear them.

Boating

Boating is fun for the entire family. Ensure that everyone remains safe.

When children are near bodies of water or on a boat, ensure that they wear a safety approved life jacket.

Life jackets should never be loose. Ensure they fit properly. When buying life jackets for kids, take them along.

Keep kids seated when the boat is moving or is about to start or stop. Kids can easily be thrown overboard.

Swimming in Open Water

Swimming in the ocean or a lake is wonderful. Keep your kids safe.

Always swim in pairs or a group. It isn't safe to swim alone.

Do not swim for at least an hour after eating.

Swim only where lifeguards are on duty and swimming areas are roped off.

Never allow kids to swim in fast-moving water or in areas known for riptides, rapids or undertows.

If you follow the tips in this article and use common sense, your kids will have a wonderful summer. Accidents do happen, but they also can be prevented. Happy Summer!

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