It’s peak summer and there’s no better time for kids to enjoy the sun!
For kids, summer is all about swimming, biking, playing with bugs, and making sandcastles.
It’s an exciting time of the year, but these activities can come with their own dangers – and the hot weather can pose additional threats.
That’s why it’s important to brush up on some summer safety tips!
To help you get started, we’ve rounded up 5 ways to keep your kids safe during the summer (+ tips on what to do in the event of an emergency):
Summer Safety Tip #1: Prepare for the Sun and Heat
While the hot sun is one of the most enjoyable things about summer, it can also be one of the most harmful, especially to young children!
We all know it can cause issues like sunburn, but it can also cause heat stress and even heat strokes.
So before your kids head outside, it's important to make sure they’re prepared for the weather.
First, make sure their skin is protected. Apply a UVA/UVB sunscreen at least 30 minutes before they go outside and make sure the sunscreen has a minimum of 30 SPF. Reapply the sunscreen every two hours and if they enter the water, make sure to reapply right away.
Keep in mind that UV rays can make their way through clouds, so even if it doesn’t look like a bright and sunny day, the sun can still cause damage. When possible, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats should be worn for extra protection.
When you’re out in the sun, it’s also important to stay hydrated! This is especially important on days with extreme heat (a heat index of 90 degrees or more). Heat exhaustion is much more common for children and should be monitored closely.
On such days, make sure that they drink plenty of water, wear light clothing, and take breaks from the heat.
If your child is showing signs of overheating such as dehydration or a heat stroke, it’s important to bring them to a shaded or a cool place immediately. Have them lie down and give them frequent sips of water.
If they have a temperature of 105°F (40.5°C) or higher, you should seek immediate emergency medical care.
Summer Safety Tip #2: Practice Pool Safety
There’s nothing kids like more than swimming in a pool!
But before you break out the noodles and water wings, it’s important to teach your kids about water safety and how to take proper precautions.
First thing first, enroll your children in swimming lessons – they can be incredibly valuable as your child learns how to interact and be confident in the water.
It’s important that kids know the basics, and the earlier they start, the more natural it will come to them.
Kids can start taking swimming lessons by age one. By age four, they’re able to learn basic water survival skills, like treading and floating.
If your children haven’t completed swimming lessons, it’s a good idea to have them wear a life jacket whenever they’re around a pool (depending on their confidence in the water, this might be a good idea even if they have taken lessons).
When finding the right life jacket, make sure that it fits well and is USCG-approved.
Next up, never leave your kids unattended at the pool.
This is especially the case for young children who can drown in less than 2 inches (6 centimeters) of water.
Having eyes on them at all times is a must, no matter what their level of swimming. Even a child with strong swimming skills can slip and fall unconscious, so it’s important to always keep a lookout.
As a parent, it’s also important to know the signs of drowning. It may not always look as dramatic as it does on TV – oftentimes, the signs are much more subtle. Here’s what to look out for:
- Head low in the water, mouth at water level
- Head tilted back with mouth open
- Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
- Eyes closed
- Hair over forehead or eyes
- Not using legs – vertical
- Hyperventilating or gasping
- Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
- Trying to roll over on the back
- Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder
*If you do find yourself or your kids in an emergency situation, it’s important to call 9-1-1 immediately.
Summer Safety Tip #3: Play Safe at Playgrounds
First and foremost, parent supervision is a must! When your children are playing at the playground, they should be supervised by an adult or other responsible caregiver.
When you visit a new playground, make sure to walk the grounds with your children and keep your eye out for any hazardous items. For example, glass in the sand, broken swings, or loose structures.
These can all contribute to accidents, but can easily be avoided if you check them out beforehand.
Make sure to teach your children this rule whenever entering a new playground (or even routine playgrounds) so that you can ensure they’re playing in a safe environment.
Another thing to note, bugs can be especially pesky during the summer months! Keep your eyes out for any sand flies or mosquitoes that could bite, and carry bug spray to help prevent any bites or stings.
Summer Safety Tip #4: Carry a First Aid Kit
Summer isn’t summer without biking, swimming, jumping, and running!
While these activities can all be a ton of fun, they can also leave children vulnerable to scratches, cuts, and bruises.
At one point or another, every child will fall, get burned, experience an allergic reaction – and in these situations, it’s best to be prepared!
That’s why it’s important to carry a basic first aid kit at all times. This could include bandages, disinfectant, gauze, an antihistamine, and any other items your children may need. By carrying around a few of the basics, you’ll feel prepared in the event of an accident.
If you want something with all the basics, the Red Cross has first aid kits for sale available for different family sizes and situations.
*Remember that if the accident looks like something that requires further medical attention, it’s important to call 9-1-1 immediately.
Summer Safety Tip #5: Familiarize Yourself with Poisonous Products
It’s probably the last thing on your mind, but it’s important to take it into consideration when spending time in the outdoors.
Many of the household products we use (for example, chemical-filled bug sprays, grass fertilizers, cleaning sprays, etc.) can be very harmful to children, especially if they inhale or ingest them.
So when spending time outdoors, make sure to be mindful of what’s lying around and what can be harmful to your children.
It isn’t uncommon for household products like BBQ cleaner or lighter fluid to be left out. However, these can be very harmful to children and should be kept out of arm's reach.
When you aren’t using these products, it’s important to keep them locked away in a cabinet or storage that’s out of reach of children.
To be extra cautious, we recommend installing a Notion Sensor on the cabinet door that houses these products. That way, if the door is opened, you’ll be notified immediately.
Thanks for reading! We hope that you learned a few new tips to keep your kids safe this summer!