Kids look forward to summertime all year, waiting for the day when they can say goodbye to school routines and sleep in a little later, take vacations, and leave homework worries behind. But any parent knows that with the long, warm days also come activities that can present hazards to little ones, so it’s important to keep in mind a few safety measures that will keep accidents and worry at bay.
Bike rides, trips to the park, and fishing at the lake are all great examples of summertime fun that come with risk. Here are some tips on how to ensure your child is safe while he or she is having a blast.
Know the environment
If your child loves to play outside, chances are you’ll see some bug bites at the end of the day. Some kids aren’t bothered much by mosquitoes and other biting pests, but others are highly allergic and break out in large, itchy welts. You can protect your kiddo by having them avoid using scented perfumes or lotions, which attract many types of bugs, and spraying their skin with a safe insect repellent before they go out to play. In areas with high grass and brush, it’s a good idea to have them wear long pants tucked into boots to keep ticks at bay.
Use safety equipment
For bikers, skateboarders, and kids who ride scooters, it’s important to find the right safety gear. Helmets, knee and elbow pads, and even mouth guards are recommended depending on the child’s age, and finding the right fit is imperative. Let your child know that using equipment without being properly suited up is dangerous and that sometimes, borrowing items from friends won’t do any good because the fit will be off.
For many kids, these methods of transportation are essential in the summertime for getting around the neighborhood, but accidents can happen. Make sure your child knows what to do in the event of a spill, and it’s always a good idea to keep a first-aid kit around for scrapes and cuts. For mouth injuries, sometimes there’s nothing to do but call the dentist immediately.
Take extra precaution in the water
Water safety is something that should be taken very seriously no matter what the child’s age or experience level is. Whether they’re in an inflatable pool or at the lake, adult supervision is always recommended. Keep in mind that younger children can drown in mere inches of water, and that swimming pool rules–such as no running or diving–must be obeyed by everyone. Make sure life vests are in good shape and fit well. Teach your child the do’s and don’ts of swim safety well before they go into the water, then help them enforce the rules by being present without distractions.
Don’t rely on someone else supervising, especially at a crowded beach or pool. Even lifeguards can’t watch everyone at all times. As always when a child is outside, make sure they are well protected with sunblock, and don’t forget to keep them hydrated.
Make rest a priority
It’s also a good idea to make sure your child is well-rested before they play in the water, which can be tiring. Staying up late when school is out is part of the fun of summer break, but it can be dangerous when they need to focus. Making sure they put down their phone or laptop at least an hour before bed is a great start; studies show that this helps with a good night’s sleep.
Be careful when cooking outdoors
Many families enjoy fire pits, bonfires, and grilling during the summer, so it’s important to teach children how to be safe around all those flames. Keep grills well away from the house and out of heavily-trafficked areas. Always supervise cooking over an open flame; making s’mores can be great fun on a camping trip, but little ones should have help from an adult. If you use a gas grill, it can be helpful to set a timer–perhaps on your phone–to remind you to check and make sure it’s turned all the way off after cooking is finished.
Summertime is full of adventures for kids, and while some of them can include a bit of risk, it can be a relatively stress-free time for you if you plan accordingly.
About the Author
Sean Morris is a former social worker turned stay-at-home dad. He knows what it’s like to juggle family and career. He did it for years until deciding to become a stay-at-home dad after the birth of his son. Though he loved his career in social work, he has found this additional time with his kids to be the most rewarding experience of his life. He began writing for LearnFit.org to share his experiences and to help guide anyone struggling to find the best path for their life, career, and/or family.