Once the final school bell rings, the pencils and notebooks are packed away and the kids are ready for some summer fun! Children love the hot summer months, because they provide the perfect opportunity to spend lots of time outside. Whether it’s swimming in the pool, hiking, taking long walks, or going for a bike ride, there is something for everyone, no matter how young or old.
We hope that you enjoy this special time of year, but we want to also remind parents that there are potential dangers during the summer months, and it’s important to be aware of what they are. The Safe Kids Campaign estimates that every year, one in four kids ages 14 and younger will sustain an injury that requires medical attention. Forty percent of all injury-related emergency room visits and 42 percent of all injury deaths happen between May and August, they report, but it's not all bad news. We can keep kids free from about 90 percent of these accidents by educating ourselves and our kids on how to stay safe while still enjoying summer vacation.
There are many areas to cover when it comes to summer safety. Here are the Top 10.
Bites and Stings
Spray yourself with insect repellent. Repellents can help reduce bites from mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and other bothersome bugs.
You could pick up a tick in your own yard while gardening or playing outside. Wear light-colored clothing and shoes. They help you spot any ticks that may be crawling on you.
Take precautions around home pools, in addition to closely supervising kids while they swim. Installing fencing around pools, at least 5-feet high, all the way around and with a self-closing, self-latching gate. Pool and gate alarms add another layer of protection.
Check the playground equipment before letting kids play on it. Be sure that your child's clothing is playground-friendly: Remove any strings, such as those on hoodies, only let them wear closed-toed shoes at play and avoid clothing that is loose enough to catch on equipment.
Always wear a bike helmet. Make sure that your child hasn't outgrown their bicycle too.
Avoid contact with poisonous plants, but wearing clothing that covers a good amount of skin will help reduce your risk.
Be sure that food items that contain mayonnaise, milk, eggs, meat, poultry and seafood aren't kept at room temperature for more than an hour or two (one hour max if it's 90* outside). Raw fruits and vegetables can cause problems if not properly washed and stored.
Heat Related Illness
Staying hydrated in hot weather can help reduce the risk of heat-related illness.
If you're feeling thirsty, you're already mildly dehydrated. Relying on thirst as a reminder to take a drink leaves you at risk for dehydration.
Everyone, adults and kids should apply a water-resistant sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Choose a sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 and apply it 15 to 30 minutes before going outside.
If you're using both sunscreen and insect repellent, apply sunscreen first and then repellent.
Stay safe and enjoy the summer!