I love summer time. Active mornings and lazy afternoon naps make me happy. We have so much fun and days are easier than when we are stuck inside all day. Sadly along with all of the fun often accidents happen too. Sometimes big but most often small. With a little diligence, many of the most common accidents can be avoided or limited in severity.
Safety playing outside
Now my two oldest are old enough for a bit more freedom I find myself worried they will get hurt playing outside. With recent events here involving stranger danger, I find myself even more worried about what dangers my children face.
Before the children gain the privilege of playing outside of our gate I insist they must learn the basics like don’t chase a toy into the road and Keep within the limits we have set. Always ask before going anywhere. While simple common sense things we have been telling children their entire lives you still have to repeat them often. even to older children.
Reminding children not to talk to strangers is vital. Kids have a tendency to not think about the consequences of their actions before doing them. A normal part of childhood that makes it important for parents to keep drilling this one into their kids. When my children are caught following directions I make a point to praise them for remembering the rule. Often in front of the stranger to remind them why they should be more careful about talking to children.
Teach your children do not pet dogs. This is important for so many reasons. Not only can a dog bite even through a fence but, predators can use a cute dog or puppy to convince your child to get close and even follow him to his car.
Teach your child to play in groups rather than spend time wondering and playing alone making them a target. Have your child check in often either with a quick phone call or stop in the house. This allows you to know your child is safe and for them to know that someone will know they are missing should something happen.
Remind your children to use safety gear like a helmet while doing activities like riding bikes and skating. A simple easy way to protect your child from the worst if they take a fall. This simple thing is an easy way to protect your child.
Water safety is a big deal in the summer. Everyone gathers around water to keep cool on a hot day. Water is such a fun yet can lead to some very dangerous situations. The best thing you can do is start teaching your child to swim at a young age. The sooner your child learns to keep their head above water the safer they will be.
Require children to wear lifejackets on or near boats and water. Even the best swimmer can struggle when suddenly thrown into deep water. Flotation devices are not the be all end all and your child still needs supervision. Think of a lifejacket as an emergency backup that keeps the worst from happening.
Keep large pools fenced off and wading and other kiddie pools empty when not in use. It doesn’t take long for a child to wonder off into the water. While your children may know better, the neighbors escaping your toddler doesn’t understand the dangers of water. Kids are good at escaping and you should never allow children to play near water unsupervised Most children that drowned were not near water with the knowledge of an adult.
My husband has two shades. Lobster and ghost. Sadly that means our kids are prone to burning as well. To protect them I had to learn a few tricks because I never had those issues growing up.
the best tool I have found is to use sunscreen and a lot of it. Often. In an effort to protect the children from chemicals I made a homemade sunscreen using zinc oxide the most common active ingredient in sunscreens. It does not absorb into the body and can leave you looking paler than ever but it does the trick and is 100% safe for the kids. If playing in the water apply sunscreen more often than usual.
When my oldest was young even the strongest commercial brand sunscreen could not keep her from turning red. Thankfully she outgrew the issue but I did learn that avoiding the sun was the only way to protect her. During the peak of the day stay inside or look for shade. Between 11 and 2 is the perfect time to come inside for lunch and a lazy afternoon nap.
Wearing clothes that offer UV protection is a great way to keep your child safe from the sun. When buying swimwear look for sun blocking rash guard whenever possible to help protect keep your child’s skin from the sun. Skin is not the only thing that needs protection. The sun can harm your child’s eyes. Prescription glasses should have a UV coating to help protect your child’s eyes. For others, 100% UV blocking sunglasses are the way to go for long lasting vision.
Dehydration is a big issue out in the summer heat. Drinking plenty of fluids is vital and kids often need to be reminded. Even when playing in the water you should encourage your child to stop and take a drink often.
Fire, fireworks, and grills
Burns are a big issue in the summer and not just from the sun. Cooking outdoors and fires for entertainment are abundant. Curious or distracted children often find themselves in danger. This is one thing I often fear my children will fall prey to. Their easily distracted nature and impulsivity put them at high risk.
Teaching children to stay safe around fireworks and sparklers is a good place to start. I about died when I watched nearly $200 in sparklers explode on the picnic table this last year. It only took a moment and a tiny spark for a table full of children to be surrounded by flames. When I posted that pic on Instagram I had no idea how wild things would get. The good news is we had all of the basics covered like keeping little ones at a distance, Having water nearby, and soaking the ground before using fireworks in the dry grass and hey.
Other dangerous areas include fire pits and grills. Young children are tempted to go near things adults seem fascinated with like the grill. The grill should never be running with children nearby unsupervised. To keep neighborhood children from getting hurt you should put coals out when done grilling. Young and distractable children should be kept away from fire pits using fences or play yards.
The biggest focus to keep children safe is supervision. As much as I love the concept of free range kids there are situations where children need to be supervised. As children get older we can give them more freedom even if I crave letting them run like I did as a child when the world was a very different place.