The weather is getting warmer and the days are getting longer. Summer is an enjoyable time for kids and families alike. Kids are out of school for the summer which means more time spent at home, in the pool, at the beach, traveling with family, and BBQing by the grill.
More time spent outside and traveling also means more risk for potential injuries and dangers. These curious minds and little bodies are still developing their sense of awareness and safety precautions. Although it is a great time for exploring and engaging their curious senses, it’s important to keep them safe and have them exercise caution when outdoors.
From swimming in the pool, jumping in bounce houses, and traveling with family to bbq-ing by the grill- here is a compiled and condensed list of summer safety tips to keep in mind as your children are spending more time at home and outside.
General Summer Safety Tips
SPF should be worn every day throughout the year but especially during the summer when the days are hotter and kids are playing outside. Apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 liberally 30 minutes before heading out into the sun and reapply every 2 hours when outside, in the water, or sweating.
Drink lots of water during the day throughout the warm summer and especially during activities. My children often have too much fun when they’re out playing and so I have to encourage and remind them to drink water. Encourage and remind them to drink water so that they stay hydrated. You can offer popsicles, juices, jello, and other forms of liquids to keep children hydrated but water is best.
Wear comfortable shoes or sandals when playing outside or in public. Walking around bare feet can make you susceptible to cuts and scraps from sharp objects.
Put on safety gear.
Children should wear helmets when riding a bicycle and when operating on wheels. They may also need knee guards, wrist pads, and elbow guards if they are using a scooter, rollerskating, or skateboarding.
Water Safety Tips
Teach children how to swim.
Teaching children how to swim is an incredibly important life-saving skill that they need to know in life. When you feel that your children are comfortable, enroll them in swim classes to get them comfortable with the water.
Supervise children at all times in the water.
Children should be supervised by a responsible adult at all times. If you and your spouse are taking turns watching your children, make sure that you have a system for acknowledging when it’s the other person’s turn to watch the children. It’s too easy to assume that the other person is watching when they are not and something wrong happens.
Give children your undivided attention.
It’s easy to pick up your phone and scroll through social media or grab a book to read because you want to relax by the pool too but children need your full attention when they are in the water. Drownings happen quickly and small children can drown in even one inch of water.
Repeat back communication.
Repeat-back communication is a form of communication that is used in the military and other forms of high-stress environments where you need to ensure that the other person heard what you’re saying. If you’re leaving to use the restroom and need your partner to watch the children, you would shout, “Going to the restroom, your turn to watch the children.” Your partner would respond with, “Confirmed, I am watching the children.” This is so that you know your partner knows that you are “off duty” and that he will be watching the children and so forth. It’s an effective form of communication so that you are not assuming the other person is watching the children when they are not.
Teach kids to swim with an adult when they are younger. Children can have a buddy system and swim with a partner if they are older are more experienced.
Wear a life jacket.
Adults and children should wear life jackets while boating and in large bodies of water. Life jackets should be approved by the U.S. Coast Guard and should fit snugly. Ask your children to raise their arms up after putting the life jacket on. If the life jacket hits their chin while their arms are up, that means the life jacket is too loose.
Take potty breaks while swimming and playing in the water.
Prevent water-related illnesses by reminding kids not to pee or poo in the water. Tell kids not to drink the water that they are swimming or playing in. Take restroom breaks and check diapers hourly to give kids a break from playing and to also rehydrate them.
Heat Safety Tips
- Dress children in loose, light clothing that is fitted properly. Don’t overdress them.
- Wear long sleeves if possible to protect against UV rays.
- Wear a hat to protect your head, neck, and ears and sunglasses to protect your eyes.
- Do not leave children in the car- even for one minute. The car can overheat very quickly and we’ve all heard of those horror stories on the news where parents forgot about their children or pets in the car.
- Seek shade whenever possible underneath a tree, building, or umbrella.
- Schedule play activities in the early morning or late afternoon. The sun is the hottest during the peak hours of 10 am-4 pm.
- Remind children to take frequent rest breaks when they are playing such as every 15- 20 minutes.
Fireworks Safety Tips
Leave it to the pros.
It is safer to attend a fireworks show in the community that is handled by professionals instead of attempting to put on a show at home yourself.
Sparklers should not be handled by children younger than 6 years of age. They should be closely supervised by adults when being used by children under 12 years. Wear well-fitting clothing and closed-toed shoes to prevent possible foot burns or injuries.
Traveling Safety Tips
Be familiar with your travel destination.
Summer is a fun time to travel and explore but not all destinations are family-friendly. Check in advance to make sure that there are family-friendly activities and that it is safe to travel there.
Establish rules before your trip and upon arriving anywhere.
Set rules for children before getting out of the car or leaving the hotel room. Remind children not to run off on their own and to always stay close where they can see mom and dad.
Wear an ID bracelet.
You can order bracelets that have the child’s name, mom’s name and phone number, and dad’s name and phone number. Tell children to keep their bracelet on at all times and not to remove it.
Teach children important information.
If children are old enough to remember their names, phone numbers, and mom and dad’s name, teach them. Also, teach them the name of the hotel that they are staying at.
Vaccine and immunizations.
Check to see if the specific destination you will be traveling to has certain vaccine requirements. You may need to get immunized before your trip to prevent any possible infections.
Pack a basic first aid kit.
You never know what may go wrong and what you’ll need. Pack a basic first aid kit with gloves, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, bandaids, gauze, pain relief, ice packs, and adhesive tape. There are plenty of basic first-aid kits that you can find at your local pharmacy or on Amazon.
Scan your hotel room for safety hazards.
Check for sharp corners and outlets that may need to get covered. You can bring outlet covers to cover open sockets and cotton can be used to cover sharp corners. Check to make sure that children can’t open sliding doors that open up to the balcony and that the locks work.
Identify safe people.
If your family is traveling to a theme park or crowded area, help your children identify safe people. If they get lost, they can ask someone for help. A safe person may be someone that is wearing a uniform or a name badge for that location. They can also ask security officers or families with children.
BBQing Safety Tips
Designate a bbq/grilling-only zone.
Zone off about 3 feet around the grill using sidewalk chalk or masking tape. Teach kids that this is the “cooking area” and to not come into this area while adults are grilling because it is unsafe for them. Adult cooking or grilling is allowed to be in this zoned-off area.
Use a thermometer to check that meat is cooked to the right internal temperature. Use caution and make sure that food is cooked thoroughly.
Wash your hands.
Have children wash their hands before eating and sanitize them after playing.
Don’t touch the grill.
Remind kids not to touch the grill after you are done using it because it can still be very hot. Make sure that the fire is completely out before going inside the home or leaving the grill.
Bounce House Safety Tips
Bounce houses are so fun and we see them in yards and driveways all the time Although they are fun and a great way for kids to get out all their energy, they also pose a great risk for injury.
- Only small groups of children similar in age and size should play in the bounce house at the same time together.
- Children should take their shoes, jewelry, and glasses off before playing in the bounce house.
- Teach children to bounce near the center of the bounce house and to stay away from the entrance, exit, and sides of the bounce house.
- If the bounce house starts to lose air, children should get out of the bounce house and have it reinflated again before they jump inside.
- An adult should supervise bounce house play and intervene if any roughhousing or dangerous play begins.
Hiking Safety Tips
- Always remember to bring water and snacks before you begin hiking.
- Stay on the trail and avoid wandering off into unknown areas.
- Before starting your hike, tell someone where you will go and when you expect to be back.
- Avoid rubbing up against the brush along the hiking trail. Ticks and other insects may be lurking inside the brush and catch a ride home with you.
- Avoid touching poison oak or ivy. If you’re not familiar with the plant, just don’t touch it.
- Pick up after yourself along the trail. Don’t leave trash behind.
- Avoid wearing floral-scented fragrances that may attract insects or bee stings.
- Don’t feed animals along the trail. Even though wild rabbits, squirrels, and other animals may look cute, they are still wild and may bite.
- If you see or hear rattlesnakes along the trail, head in the opposite direction.
- Don’t approach deer, bear, or any other large animal. Remain calm and head in the other direction slowly.
Bug and Animal Safety Tips
Cover your skin.
Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to cover and protect your skin. Wear shoes and long socks.
Wear Insect repellent.
Wear insect repellent that contains 20-30% DEET and is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. You don’t need to put on insect repellent all over your body and underneath your clothes. You just need to apply insect repellent to areas of the skin that are exposed and not covered by clothing.
Avoid spending time in areas where there is free-standing water. Get rid of anything in the yard that may contain free-standing water.
Do a tick check.
If you’ve spent some time outside, check your children’s skin to see if any ticks may be hiding underneath their clothing such as near their armpits, the belly button, or behind and inside the ear.
Summer is a great time to spend time outdoors, reconnect with nature, visit family and friends, and travel to different places. It offers plenty of opportunities for exploring and discovering new things. As you are out and about, keep in mind these safety tips to keep you and your loved ones safe.
If you are in Southern California, check out my post about some other family-friendly activities that are great for little ones.