Summertime means fun in the sun! The kids are out of school, the weather is beautiful, and there are tons of fun things to do outside. But with all those sports and pools and beaches, there are some safety risks. Here are our tips for staying safe all summer long!
Never Forget Water Safety
Drowning is a leading cause of death for children under the age of 5; it kills 3 children in the US every single day. Of course, summer is primetime for swimming pools, boats, and beaches, so brush up on your water safety before you head out to the water. Supervision is the most important element – an adult should be watching children under the age of 14 at all times. Teach your kids to swim or sign them up for formal lessons so they’re more comfortable in the water and know how to stay afloat. If you’re headed for the beach, pay close attention to warnings about rip tides and other dangers – those can overpower even the strongest adult swimmers. Finally, make sure someone in your family knows CPR in case of emergencies.
Sun Protection Is Crucial
Sunburns are not just unpleasant – they’re dangerous. They increase your risk of skin cancer, especially if you get a serious burn as a child. Tanning causes the same damage and does not protect you from further damage. And all that time in the hot sun (not to mention running around and playing) can put your kids at risk for heatstroke or sunstroke. This is especially true for kids playing outdoor sports in the summer heat.
Those conditions can be life-threatening, but they’re completely preventable. To avoid sunburn, heat stroke, and sunstroke, you should:
- Never leave children, pets, or infants in a parked car even with the windows cracked; it’s just too hot
- Schedule your outdoor activities for early morning or later in the evening when it’s cooler and darker; bring everyone inside for lunch or indoor activities during the heat of the day
- Dress your children in light-colored, lightweight clothing to help them stay cool
- Hydrate! Make sure your kids always have access to water and that they’re drinking regularly
- Put sunscreen (at least SPF 15) on your kids every time you’re going outside; sunburns can start in just a few minutes
- Put hats on your kids to protect their faces and necks from the sun
If your child has a severe blistering sunburn or any symptoms of heatstroke or sunstroke (including a high fever, vomiting, rapid breathing, headache, or confusion), you should seek medical attention immediately.
Watch Out For Bug Bites
We’ve heard a lot about Zika in the news lately, but it’s not the only dangerous disease passed by mosquitoes – West Nile virus and other dangerous diseases are also mosquito-borne. Plus, many children are allergic to insect bites and can suffer serious or even life-threatening reactions. Use an effective insect repellent whenever your kids are playing in areas with mosquitoes and other biting insects. Citronella candles are another good tool if you’re taking advantage of the good weather to sit outside for a while. Remember that mosquitoes are most active around sundown, so consider bringing everyone inside during that period of the day.
If your kids are playing outdoors, especially in tall grass or wooded areas, you’ll also want to use a bug spray to deter ticks, which carry Lyme disease. You should regularly check yourself and your children for ticks and remove them as soon as possible.
If your child was bitten by a bug and is suffering symptoms like swelling, severe itching, or trouble breathing, you should seek medical attention immediately.
All Those Activities Open The Door For Injuries
Emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children aged 14 and younger for injuries associated with playing outdoors. Falls on the playground and on the home are the most common cause of injury, although injuries can happen anywhere.
Be mindful of the safety of playgrounds – are the materials under them soft? Is the equipment well-maintained? You should always supervise your children when they’re using play equipment and seek medical attention immediately if your child hits his or her head. If your kids play sports, stay involved and make sure that they’re following good safety procedures.
Sports aren’t the only injury risk during the summer. The heat means we often want to open our windows, but window screens are frequently improperly secured. Every year, children fall out of open windows because the screens can’t hold them. Consider installing window guards to avoid that risk.
Camping is a ton of fun, but it rolls up all of these summer dangers into one. Always be mindful of sun safety, water safety, and hydration. Make sure you have a well-stocked first aid kit and that at least one person in your party knows CPR. Make sure your campfires are safe and that you check the area for poisonous insects or snakes.
Talk To Your Kids
You want to keep your kids safe, but it’s humanly impossible to keep an eye on them every single second of every single day. They always manage to get into some kind of mischief. So one of the most important things you can do to keep your kids safe is to talk to them about safety. Show them how to use sunscreen and explain why they need it and how frequently to use it. Explain why they need to stay hydrated. Teach them to swim and teach them basic first aid and camping safety. And teach them what to do if they or another child gets injured or sick.
Stay Safe Out There!
Summertime is a ton of fun and we hope you and your kids have a great, safe time!
Prior to forming Dyer, Garofalo, Mann & Schultz, Doug worked as a bodily injury claims adjuster for a large insurance company. This unique experience has been a tremendous asset to Doug in his fight to achieve maximum cash settlements for his clients in minimum time. Since departing from the insurance company, Doug has dedicated his entire legal career to helping injured clients when they need it the most.