Once that school is out for summer, your child will have a lot of free time. Fortunately, summertime is the perfect time of year for your children to be enrolled in extracurricular activities and to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Whether your child is in your care, in the care of someone else, or is unsupervised, it’s important to be aware of safety in a variety of summertime activities:
Water fun is a quintessential part of summer weather. Whether you fill up the kiddie pool in your backyard, go to the local pool, or partake in some water sports at the lake or ocean, children of all ages should know how to be safe in the water. Young children should always be supervised to prevent a drowning incident and every child should learn how to swim. Although many parents enroll their children in swimming lessons as early as six months old, most swimmers are not proficient until the age of 6 or 7 and even after that, they should be supervised by an adult.
Children of all ages should wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket when riding on any type of watercraft and be taught how to safely enter the water. To reduce the risk of brain, head, or spinal injuries, individuals of all ages should enter the water feet first rather than diving, as it’s often difficult to tell how deep the water is or what obstructions may be beneath the water’s surface.
Helmet Safety Use
Some kids rely on bicycles, scooters, in-line skates, and skateboards to get around during the summer. While these wheeled modes of transportation are a fun and healthy way to get around, they can be dangerous and to avoid a life changing head or brain injury, helmet use should be strictly enforced. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, safety helmets can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by 88%. It’s important to remember that even the most careful and skilled of children are at risk for falling or getting struck by a vehicle and by wearing a helmet, his or her chances of suffering a serious injury is less likely.
Hydration and Sun Protection
As you and your children get busy during the day, it may be easy to forget to stay hydrated or to apply another coat of sunscreen after a morning at the pool, however, drinking enough water and wearing sunscreen is important for your child’s health, particularly on hot days. Although water is your child’s best option for staying hydrated, there are also healthy summer foods, like melon, that can help keep your child hydrated. Encourage your child to drink water throughout the day, not only when he or she is extremely thirsty.
In addition to applying a broad spectrum sunscreen on your child throughout the day, pay attention to the heat index and avoid having your child play outside during the hottest times of the day, instead, take those moments to have some quiet time indoors (such as reading or some earned screen time) where it’s cooler.