It’s summertime and a variety of activities fill the schedules of kids and families. The warm weather brings more opportunity for fun outdoors, but also the potential for accidents. Here are a few safety rules to keep you and your loved ones safe as you enjoy the summer.
From the American Academy of Pediatrics:
Fun in the Sun
Babies Under 6 Months:
- Dress infants in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts and brimmed hats that shade the neck. If there’s inadequate shade, apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF to small areas, such as the infant’s face.
For all other children:
- The first and best line of defense against harmful rays is to cover up – wear a hat, sunglasses and tight-weave clothing.
- Stay in the shade when possible; limit sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Use a sunscreen with a 15 SPF or higher sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Apply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.
- Never leave children unattended in or near the pool or spa, even for a moment.
- Install a fence at least 4 feet high around all sides of a pool. It should not have openings or protrusions that a young child could use to get over, under or through.
- Make sure pool gates open out from the pool, and self-close and self-latch at a height children can’t reach. Put alarms on the gates, and install surface wave or underwater alarms.
- Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as “floaties.” They are not a substitute for approved life vests and can give children and parents a false sense of security.
- Avoid entrapment: Suction from pool and spa drains can trap a child underwater. Do not use a pool or spa if there are broken or missing drain covers. Ask your pool operator if the pool’s drains are compliant with the Pool and Spa Safety Act. See PoolSafely.gov for more information on the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.
- Large above-ground pools have become popular for backyard use. Children may fall in if they lean against the soft side of an inflatable pool. These pools should be surrounded by a fence just as a permanent pool would be.
- If a child is missing, look for her or him in the pool or spa first.
- Share safety instructions with family, friends and neighbors.
- The playground should have safety-tested mats or loose-fill materials (shredded rubber, sand, wood chips, or bark) maintained to a depth of at least 9 inches (6 inches for shredded rubber). The protective surface should extend at least 6 feet (more for swings and slides) in all directions from the equipment.
- Open “S” hooks or protruding bolt ends can be hazardous.
- Never attach ropes, jump ropes, leashes or similar items to play equipment; children can strangle on these. If you see something tied to the playground, remove it or call the playground operator.
- Make sure your children remove helmets and anything looped around their necks.
- Make sure slides are cool so children don’t burn their legs.
- Do not allow children to play barefoot on the playground.
- Parents should never purchase a home trampoline or allow children to use a home trampoline because of the risk of serious injury even when supervised.
- Netting surrounding a trampoline offers a false sense of security and does not prevent injuries.
- If children are jumping on a trampoline, they should be supervised by a responsible adult, and only one child should be on the trampoline at a time; 75% of trampoline injuries occur when more than one person is jumping at a time.
And finally, heartbreaking and preventable deaths occur every summer when children are left alone in hot cars. Never leave kids alone in a hot car, even briefly, and always lock your car when it’s empty so kids can’t get in without you knowing. If you see a child alone in a hot car, call 911 immediately; get the child out ASAP if they are in distress.
Take steps to remember not to leave a child in a vehicle:
- Always check the front and back seats of the car before you lock it and leave.
- Put your purse, briefcase or something else you need by the car seat so you don’t forget to check.
- Write yourself a note and place it where you’ll see it when you leave the vehicle.
- Keep an object, such as a stuffed animal, in the car seat. After the child is buckled in, place the object where the driver will notice it when he or she leaves the vehicle.
- Ask your child care provider to call you if your child doesn’t arrive on time.