No one looks forward to summer more than kids, with its later sunsets and increased opportunity for outdoor adventures. Be sure to take some precautions so everyone has a fun – and safe – summer break.
Children’s first priority during the summer months is often finding a pool, sprinkler set, or other water activities, and they’re a great source of exercise. But there are hazards that should never be ignored: except for birth defects, drowning is the number one cause of death among children ages 1 to 4. For this reason, they should be supervised at all times – by an adult who knows how to swim. But kids can also take part by learning to be good swimmers; ensuring children know how to swim properly can save lives. Don’t be afraid to use aids such as life vests when appropriate, especially while on a boat.
The heat and sun are also potential sources of trouble: sunscreen, applied liberally and reapplied every two hours, should be non-negotiable, as it protects against painful sunburns which can lead to other conditions such as dehydration and skin damage. It’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration or heat stroke, which can have serious effects – set a reminder if need be, or designate a water break every hour. Sweating increases water loss, so these conditions increase in the summer; shield kids from the sun by encouraging breaks in the shade every so often and providing lightweight clothing.
Proper gear is an important part of summer safety: helmets are incredibly important for activities such as biking, skateboarding, and rollerblading, but they often go unused. A properly fitted helmet can mean the difference between life and death, or serious injury; parents should check yearly that their child’s helmet and padding still fits correctly and is in good condition, free of cracks or other damage. Specialized equipment – mouth guards, life vests, etc. – should also be checked for fit and condition.
Bugs are a summer annoyance, so keep them away with sprays when possible. Be on the lookout for allergic reactions to bites from mosquitos, flies, and other pests, and check for ticks if kids have been playing outdoors. It helps to get them involved: show them how to check belly buttons, arms, the hairline, etc. for signs of a tick.
Have a fun, safe summer!