A blog by Guest Blogger Sean MorrisVacations, camping out, trips to the swimming pool and park. Summer is an awesome time, with tons of activities to keep little ones occupied and entertained for hours. But spending time outdoors–where the heat and sun can take a toll–comes with a few risks, and it’s important to be prepared and educate your children about summer safety.
Riding bikes, swimming, and spending time at a park or playground can be great fun for any age, but there are some things to keep in mind if you want to ensure safety. Share these tips with family members and babysitters so that you and your kids can have the best summer ever.
Prepare for the heat
Summer days can be downright dangerous. In states like Texas and Oklahoma, temperatures in the hottest months can easily reach 100 degrees or more. No matter where you live, it’s important to remember that the sun is powerful enough to burn some people even when they’re sitting in shady areas, and it’s easy to become dehydrated in a short amount of time.
Have cool bottled water on hand to combat this; you might even consider keeping several bottles in a cooler with some ice for easy access.
Keeping sunblock accessible is also imperative for any child who will be spending time outside, and if they’re in the water, check the label to see how often you’ll need to reapply it.
It’s best to keep babies out of the sun altogether, since their skin is so sensitive. If playtime outdoors is a must for older kids, take everyone out during early morning hours, before the day gets too hot. Keep a lightweight hat available for infants to cover their head and protect their face.
Finally, never, EVER leave a child in a hot car for any amount of time.
Since 1998, there have been nearly 700 infant and child deaths due to heat stroke after they were left in a hot vehicle, and they were all preventable. Never allow a child to play in a garage or around a car, even supervised; they may take it upon themselves to do climb inside when no one is paying attention, which can lead to an accidental death.
Aside from educating your kids about swimming safety in pools, lakes, and the ocean, it’s always a good idea to enforce the same rules even in a small backyard pool. Little ones can drown in just a few inches of water or less, so an adult should always be present when water is involved.
Make sure all safety equipment–such as life vests–is in good working order and fits properly, and never allow neighborhood children to use a backyard pool when you aren’t home. Keep a fence with a locked gate is the best prevention.
When supervising children in the water, be present. Stay off your phone and make sure you’re well rested so you can focus and make split-second decisions should the need arise.
Bugs and illness
Keeping pests from biting and stinging can be an overwhelming task for parents whose kids are outside much of the time, especially in rural areas. Preventative care–such as safe bug repellent, long pants, and citronella–can go a long way in keeping bug bites at bay.
It’s also important, however, to think about your lawn and the areas around your home. If your kids have a small pool in the backyard, avoid letting water sit longer than a day as it can attract mosquitoes. Never leave food or open trash cans sitting out, and if you live in a wooded area or have high grasses and brush near your home, check your child for ticks when they come in.
Summer months are wonderful for kids and parents alike, but they can also come with added worries. With a little bit of careful planning and vigilance, however, you can keep stress at bay and ensure your kids have a great break.
Sean Morris is a former social worker turned stay-at-home dad.
He knows what it’s like to juggle family and career. He did it for years until deciding to become a stay-at-home dad after the birth of his son. Though he loved his career in social work, he has found this additional time with his kids to be the most rewarding experience of his life. He began writing for LearnFit.org to share his experiences and to help guide anyone struggling to find the best path for their life, career, and/or family.