Living in Western New York, we wait a long time for the sunshine and blue skies of summer. The warmer weather is a great opportunity for fun activities such as cookouts, travel, swimming, and biking. Safe practices minimize risks and keep children happy and healthy.
Here are some helpful safety tips for an enjoyable and active summer:
- Water Safety – Whether at the beach, backyard, or community pool, actively supervise children near the water at all times. Life vests and inflatable devices assist young children and swimming lessons are a great option. For children under five, remain within an arm’s reach while in the water. Caution children to never run on the pool deck or dive into shallow water.
- Proper Hydration – Children should be encouraged to drink plenty of water, especially when exposed to the heat. For a general rule, take half of your child’s weight to figure the number of ounces of water they need to drink daily. Water-rich snacks such as grapes or watermelon are helpful in replacing fluids and offering nutrients. Limit outdoor activities during the hottest times of day, make sure children wear lightweight clothing, and look for shaded areas for activities.
- Sun Protection – Apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to prevent sunburns and reapply every three hours or immediately after your child has been in the water. Swim shirts and bathing suit covers, hats, and sunglasses offer effective protection from the sun’s rays. Light, breathable clothing absorbs less heat and helps keep your kids cool.
- Safe Riding – Wearing a helmet is essential to avoiding serious bicycle injuries. Make sure bikes and helmets are properly sized and choose a helmet with a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) safety seal. Follow smart riding rules, be aware of traffic, and verify the safety of the path.
- Insect Protection – Try to minimize contact with bugs that bite or sting. Bees and mosquitoes are attracted to sweet-smelling things. Stay away from heavily scented soaps or lotions and monitor sugary drinks. Cover arms and legs as much as possible and apply insect repellent before heading outdoors. Forewarn children to avoid swatting at bees and to stay away from hives.
- Life Jackets – Any time you head to the lake or venture out on a boat, don’t forget to bring a US Coast Guard Approved personal flotation device. Proper fitting means a life jacket that is snug, comfortable, and won’t rise above the chin or ears when you lift it at the shoulders. Children should wear their life jackets at all times on a boat.
- Playground Safety – Supervise children on playgrounds. Related injuries account for over 200,00 ER visits annually. Choose age-appropriate equipment and check for hot surfaces, sturdiness, proper maintenance, and potential bees nests.
- Car Safety – Verify that your child’s car seat is safely secured and fitted before heading out. Never leave children unattended in the car. The interior temperature can rise very quickly and create an extreme danger. Establish a safety checklist prior to starting and exiting your vehicle.