Child safety tips for summer play and recreation
Child safety tips for summer fun, in your backyard or swimming or beyond.
Ah, summer… time to break out the sunscreen and head to the beach. Summertime has definitely hit us, with temperatures climbing and everyone wanting to spend more and more time outside, be it in the sunshine or the water.
When you’re taking your children outside, whether it’s to your front yard or to a public beach, there’s always something that could go wrong to ruin the good times. Luckily, it doesn’t take a lot of work to try to keep your kids as safe as possible.
First of all, try to know the area that you’re going to be in. Falls can be quite common while playing, especially with younger children. Will you be on concrete, or in the grass? If you’re in the grass, are there larger rocks or perhaps broken glass in the area? A quick search for hazards can save a lot of trouble later. If you’re using home water toys, such as an inflatable pool or a Slip-and-Slide, these searches are even more important, as the toy itself could cover up some nasty surprise.
Of course, if you’re going to a public area, you won’t know the area as well as if you’re at home. There are still a lot of things that you can do to try to stay safe, however. Make sure that your kids don’t run on concrete or around picnic tables; any horseplay or more intensive physical activity should be kept in grassy areas or public playgrounds (following all park or area rules.) Again, if they’re going to be in the grass, you can look over the area quickly to make sure that there aren’t any hidden hazards that your child could fall upon.
Naturally, summertime means swimming. It’s best to try to take children swimming either at a family-owned pool (with adults to watch them) or to a public pool or swimming area with on-duty lifeguards. It’s their job to try to keep your child safe, and they’ve had training on what to do if things go wrong. If you do decide to go swimming in an area (such as a lake or pond) where there are no lifeguards and you don’t know the condition of the bottom surface, make sure that there are at least one or two adults to watch the children at all times. Even looking away for a moment has the potential to lead to dire consequences.
When going outside, swimming or not, there are a few things that you should always have access to.
First and foremost is sunscreen… sunburns are no fun, and can become serious enough to blister and burn over the course of a day. If you’re going to be in or near water, waterproof sunscreen is best, or “sport” sunscreen, which is both waterproof and sweat proof. SPF 15 or better is recommended, with young children needing an SPF 45. Make sure to get even coverage, and reapply every hour or so to give maximum protection (even on somewhat cloudy days.)
Along the same lines as sunscreen, an insect repellant can be quite useful… especially near woods or a waterfront. Mosquitoes, ticks, and other assorted insects can be a nuisance, and also spread disease. Be sure to read the instructions, however… some insect repellents are designed for clothes, and don’t need to come in direct contact with the skin.
A general first aid kit is also highly recommend, and can usually be purchased for only a few dollars at retail stores. A good kit should contain bandages of various sizes, gauze pads, antiseptic wipes, antibacterial cremes, rubber gloves (to prevent contamination of a wound), and possibly even a mouth-to-mouth mask (to assist in rescue breathing, and prevent the possible spread of disease.) You can collect these items individually if you would like, and include any other items that you prefer.
Finally, be sure to have at least a little snack or something to eat, and plenty of fluids (preferably non-carbonated, such as juice and water.) Playing outdoors on a hot day can bring about dehydration quickly, and low blood sugar can be dangerous. It also helps to have a cellular phone (or at least access to some sort of phone) if you’re going to be away from home, in case of emergencies.
Hopefully, these tips will help you to have a safe and enjoyable summer… be it camping in the country, or relaxing in your own back yard.