Let’s celebrate the beginning of summer vacation! With temperatures rising and us all being outside a lot more, it’s important to review summer safety precautions for our children. Here are our top summer safety tips for kids as we look forward to another wonderful Quad City summer season!
Summer Safety for Kids
1. Protect skin from the sun.
Apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher whenever your child is going to be outdoors. Reapply every three hours or immediately after your child has been in or splashed by water. Try to avoid outdoor activities during peak sunshine hours, and consider dressing children in sun-protective clothing.
- Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before your child heads outside.
- If your child is under 6 months old, you should avoid having your baby’s skin in the sun. If you are outside keep your child covered and if you do need to apply sunscreen, please check with your pediatrician first.
- For children over 6 months old, use at least SPF 30 on your child’s skin, but the more SPF protection the better!
- Try to apply sunscreen before your child has his/her clothes on, as many clothing items do not protect from the sun’s rays and our children’s clothing can ride up as they play, leaving a gap between the skin protected by sunscreen and the child’s clothing.
- Don’t forget your child’s head and hair! Many times we think we are covering our kiddos from head to toe, but actually forget their head! Be sure to apply sunscreen to your child’s hair, especially on exposed parts, or have your child wear a hat.
- Reapply! Most brands, even waterproof ones, say to reapply after 80 minutes of swimming or sweating, or at least every 2 hours.
2. Drink enough water.
Another important summer safety tip for kids is that they are more prone to dehydration than adults. Just as with adults, their risk increases as temperatures rise. The amount of water a child should drink varies by age, weight, and activity level. However, a general rule is to take half of your child’s weight (up to 100 pounds) – and that’s the number of ounces of water they should drink every day.
Be sure to keep cool water or sports drinks with you when you are outside and keep your child drinking at least every 20 minutes. Remember, children are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses because their central nervous system is not yet fully developed, therefore it is important to not just rely on how you are feeling to know how hot or thirsty your little one is!
3. Avoid bug bites.
As the weather warms up, bugs come out in full force. To avoid bug bites, apply insect repellent before spending time outdoors, avoid using heavily scented soaps or lotions, and cover arms and legs as much as possible.
It is more important than ever to keep our children protected from bites and stings, especially with the danger of West Nile, Lyme, and other potential diseases that can be spread by insects. While the most highly recommended repellents are those containing DEET, you must use these DEET repellents on children sparingly and do not use on infants. DEET can be toxic, so if you’d prefer to use a substitute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend using repellents containing picaridin or oil of lemon and eucalyptus.
4. Be conscientious when food is outside.
Like most of you, I love cookouts and picnics in the summer, and some of my favorite items to enjoy are salads and dips. However, it is very important, especially when feeding young children, to remember that bacteria grow even faster in warm weather. An important summer safety tip for kids is to be particularly conscientious with any foods that are served outside, especially lettuce, melons, and anything containing mayonnaise.
The Food and Drug Administration recommends never leaving food out in 90-degree weather for more than an hour and under that temperature, no more than two hours. Also, keep in mind this is in addition to keeping your hot foods hot and cold foods cold when you are serving them. I’ve seen some cute and clever ideas on Pinterest to keep your food chilled. You can never be too safe when it comes to foodborne illness! The saying I always live by is: if in doubt, throw it out!
5. Keep watch to prevent drowning.
Summer water safety should be top of mind for parents, especially with many of us getting outdoor water play equipment with the closure of community pools. It only takes seconds for drowning to happen. Actively supervise children at all times when in or around water, regardless of if it’s a sand and water table, a wagon with water from last night’s rain, or an actual backyard pool. Ensure you have the right equipment to keep pools safe.
6. Look for signs of heat exhaustion.
Cases of heat stroke spike during the summer months and this can be life-threatening in children. Prior to heatstroke, kids often show milder symptoms such as heat cramps and heat exhaustion. Make sure children take water breaks and wear lightweight clothing when playing outside. Be sure to read our post about how to be prepared for weather emergencies, including heat-related illnesses.
7. Check for car safety.
Make sure your child’s car seat is properly fitted before hitting the road for a family vacation. Never leave a child unattended in a car. The temperature inside a car can rise quickly, and just a few minutes can be the difference between life and death. Establish a routine to check the car prior to locking, especially for the times when you may be out of your routine.
Remember The Office Dog Rescue episode? All the summer safety tips for kids you need to know.
8. Enjoy fireworks safely.
More than 10,000 people are treated in emergency departments in the U.S. each year due to injury from fireworks, and of these, nearly a third are children under 15. If you’re celebrating summer holidays with a bang, keep kids safe. Read instructions carefully, and never let young children touch or light fireworks.
9. Wear a life jacket on boats.
If you’re heading to the river or lake to cool off this summer, make sure to bring a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device. A properly fitted life jacket is snug, yet comfortable, and will not move above the chin or ears when you lift it at the shoulders. If your kids are novices around boats, watching a YouTube video or two together about proper boat safety would be another of my top summer safety tips for kids.
10. Be generally aware, but not scared.
Apart from automobiles, bicycles are related to more childhood injuries than any other consumer product. Wearing a helmet is the first rule to preventing serious bicycle injuries in kids. Make sure bikes and helmets fit kids properly and follow smart rider rules.
When driving, be sure to watch for children on bikes and scooters, as well as the child who forgets to look before running across the street. I also believe that we can’t remind our children too many times about the importance of looking for cars, wearing helmets, and always being careful and aware of their surroundings when playing outside.
Bonus Summer Safety Tip for Kids: Stop saying “Be Careful!”
Instead, help your child foster awareness and problem solve.
Every time you want to say “Be Careful!” see it as an opportunity to help your child foster greater awareness of their environment and their bodies. Try being specific about the particular situation:
- Notice how… these rocks are slippery, the log is rotten, that branch is strong.
- Do you see… the poison ivy, the bottom of that creek?
- Try moving… your feet slowly, carefully, quickly.
- Try using your… hands, feet, arms, legs.
- Can you hear… the bough creaking, the wind blowing?
- Do you feel… stable on that branch, the heat from the fire?
- Are you feeling… safe, scared, nervous?
Encouraging Problem Solving
It’s important that we let our kids engage in risky or challenging play because it’s a great way for them to practice problem-solving skills. Help them out by asking:
- What’s your plan… if you climb that boulder, cross that log?
- What can you use… to get across, to reach it?
- Where will you… put that rock, dig that hole?
- How will you…. get down, go up, get across?
- Who will… be with you, go with you, help you if…?
Source: Backwoods Mama
What additional summer safety tips for kids would you add?