Caution: Kids at Play

Ah, to be a carefree kid of summer. There’s no school, and there’s sunshine all the time. But it’s not all fun and games out there. Some summertime activities for kids call for vigilance on the part of parents and others. For instance:

Be water-wise. Children of all ages need a responsible adult to supervise them when around water. Watch kids at all times, and avoid distractions—like answering texts—even if lifeguards are on duty. Children can drown quickly. Never let kids swim in canals or other swift water. If your family goes boating, everyone needs to wear a lifejacket.

Insist on helmets. Children need bike helmets—even when riding in driveways—to help prevent devastating head injuries. They also need proper helmets (and other protective gear) for skateboards or scooters.

School them on road safety. Remind children of a few road rules for cyclists: Ride on the right, facing the same direction as traffic. Obey all traffic signs. Don’t ride at night.

Practice sun safety. Help children avoid painful sunburns (which boost their skin cancer risk later in life) and dangerous overheating. Steer kids to shade whenever possible, and have them wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Provide plenty of water to drink when kids are active in the heat.

Give playground equipment a quick safety check. For instance, are there cushioning safety mats, sand or wood chips? Any bolts or other sharp surfaces sticking out from slides? When in doubt, pick another place to play.

Leave the fireworks to the pros. Even sparklers can burn hotter than 1,000 degrees! Check out professional fireworks displays, and avoid the DIY thing.

Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics; American College of Emergency Physicians and Coffey Communications