Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe this Summer, from Bikes to Beaches and Bugs to Burns
Gregory Ozark, MD Internal Medicine & Pediatrics Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death in children in the United States, and summer fun can expose them to greater risk as they explore the world around them. Motor vehicle accidents and drowning are the two most common causes of unintentional injury. So, whether summer playtime involves water or wheels, the need for supervision cannot be overemphasized. Here are tips to help protect children during summer activities.
- Always know where your child is going and set a limit on how far he or she can go.
- Your child must wear a helmet any time he or she is on wheels – bike, skateboard, scooter or rollerblades.
- Make sure the helmet is approved by the American National Standards Institute or meets the Snell helmet safety standards.
- Purchase a helmet at a bicycle shop and have it fitted to your child’s head. It must fit snugly, go over the forehead and cover the back of the head.
- Protective gear, such as wrist guards and knee and elbow pads, is needed for rollerblading or skateboarding.
- Set an example for your child by wearing a helmet and protective gear yourself.
- Neither adults nor children should use a phone while bicycling or walking across a street.
- Most drownings happen when a child has been out of a parent’s sight for less than 5 minutes. An adult must be present when a child is around water, including lakes, pools, piers, ponds, rivers and creeks.
- Infants and toddlers need a parent present at all times when in or near a bathtub.
- While in or near the water, young children should be within an arm’s reach of an adult at all times.
- All children ages 5 and older should have swim lessons.
- Home pools should have a 4-foot-high fence that surrounds the entire pool and have a self-latching gate.
- Alcohol and boating do not mix, especially if you are steering the boat or supervising children.
- Adults and children need to wear a lifejacket when boating.
Windows can be extremely dangerous for children, especially young children.
- Screens keep out insects, but they do not prevent a child from falling.
- Use a window guard to ensure children are safe when the window is open.
- When purchasing guards make sure there is an emergency release in case of fire.
Playgrounds, at the park or home, can be a hazard.
- An adult should be present whenever a child is using playground equipment.
- Check that the equipment is no taller than 5 or 6 feet and that the surface under the equipment has a more shock absorbent material than cement or grass, such as woodchips or sand.