School is out and summer is here! This means picnics, barbecues, swimming, bike rides, boating, parks / playground fun, camping, vacations and more. Here is a list of safety tips for parents to follow.
1. Summer means bugs! What is the best way to keep them away? Avoid scented soaps, perfumes or hairsprays which attract insects. Use insect repellent containing DEET when necessary to prevent diseases like Lyme disease and West Nile Virus. For children older than 2 months, use 10% – 30% DEET. It is not recommended for children under 2 months.
2. Playgrounds are fun but it’s always a good idea to take a look around at the playground to look for any obvious hazards such as protruding screws or bolts, anything sharp, moving parts that could trap a child, check the equipment to be sure it not too hot to sit on, never allow jump ropes, leashes or anything that could lead to danger. Parent supervision is always recommended.
3. Riding bikes around the neighborhood or in parks is a fun activity the whole family can enjoy. Always be sure your child is wearing a helmet. Talk to children about watching for cars backing out of driveways, parking lots or turning off of streets. Encourage them to always walk their bike in a cross walk when crossing a street.
4. Stay protected from the sun’s rays. Always wear sunscreen when playing outdoors, even if it is cloudy. Just a few serious sunburns can increase your risk for skin cancer later in life. Use sunscreen with at least SPF 15 with UVA and UVB protection. You may need to reapply after a couple hours.
5. Swimming is a great physical activity but make sure the children stay safe while enjoying the pool, lakes or ocean. Always watch your children around water. Designate an adult to constantly watch the children and take turns being the watch guard. Swimming lessons are a great summer sport activity and helps prevent drowning. Take a CPR class. You never know when you could save someone’s life. If you have a pool in your backyard, make sure it has a fence surrounding it with self closing and self latching gates.
6. Boating is another fun activity that families enjoy during the summer months. Always keep children and adults who cannot swim in a life jacket. When the boat is moving, keep children and adults seating to avoid and accidents.
7. Every kid loves to go camping. Make sure you pack food in tight, waterproof containers to avoid leaking and cross contamination which can lead to illness. Never use fuel burning equipment inside a tent or camper. It can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. They can be cute and kids are curious but avoid touching or feeding wild animals. They can carry Rabies, Hantavirus and other diseases. Don’t forget a first aid kit, compass, GPS, map, flashlight, blankets, batteries, food, water, clothes and medications. Tell friends or family your plans and location in case of emergency.
8. Drink plenty of water! Dehydration and heat related illnesses can happen quickly when the temperatures rise. Do not wait until a child says they are thirsty to offer them fluids. Be sure to remind children to take breaks and seek shade while having fun.
9. Nothing says summer like a barbecue but never let children near the grill. It can remain hot long after it has been used. If you are having an outdoor picnic, make sure not to leave foods out for too long that can spoil. Be sure foods are cooked thoroughly before eating to avoid illness.
10. If you are going on vacation make sure your home and belongings are safe while you are gone. Put a hold on your newspaper and mail. Don’t broadcast it on social media that you are leaving. Let your neighbors know when you will be gone and ask them to keep an eye on your home. Set timers to turn on / off lights and TV’s at your normal routine time while you are gone. Consider turning off water to avoid any floods that could potential occur while you are gone.
Have a healthy, happy and safe summer!