Enjoy the summer sun, but make sure your safety efforts shine just as brightly.
Here are 10 tips for keeping kids (and adults) safe this summer.
Block the sun
The sun's intensity is at its peak during the summer, so it is more critical than ever to apply sunscreen before going outside. Not just on sunny days either; the sun's rays can still damage your skin when it’s cloudy. Be sure to apply sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) at least 20 minutes before going outdoors.
Teach your children never to enter the water without an adult, and watch them at all times when you are near a pool or beach. Don't allow floaties or other flotation devices to take the place of close supervision. Try to swim at beaches with a lifeguard on duty.
Wear a helmet
Unfortunately, many parents still do not insist that their children wear a helmet every single time they ride their bike.
Roll with caution
In addition to helmets when inline skating, skateboarding and scooting, kids should always wear elbow, wrist and knee pads to prevent injuries associated with falls. Make sure the safety equipment fits properly and is worn correctly. Teach your child to stay away from cars and other vehicles, and use the sidewalk and paved off-road paths. Never allow your child to wear headphones while riding; the music will block traffic sounds.
Childhood obesity is rising at an alarming rate. According to the American Obesity association, more than 15 percent of Americans ages six to 19 are obese. Summer is a wonderful time to head outside and get some exercise.
Practice car care
Don't ever leave your kids (or pets) in the car while you are running errands, even for just a few minutes. Even on mild days, the rising temperature of a vehicle can be dangerous because a young child's body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s, which can lead to injury or death.
If spending time outside in hot weather is necessary, have your child drink plenty of water and take frequent breaks in the shade. Severe dehydration can take the form of heat exhaustion and heat stroke – two serious conditions that require immediate action.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include fatigue, dizziness, headaches and nausea. The symptoms of heat stroke include red-hot dry skin from lack of sweat, confusion and delirium. If you suspect heat stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Watch for traffic
According to the Department of Transportation, a pedestrian is injured in a traffic crash every eight minutes. Children darting out between vehicles and dashing across intersections account for 60-70 percent of the total pedestrian injuries for children under the age of 10. To promote safe pedestrian habits in your children, first set a good example. Your children learn from your actions, so if you walk out between parked cars, jaywalk or cross against a light, it is likely your kids will too. Second, show small children where they can play safely and the limits beyond which they cannot go. Be prepared to enforce your rules.
Prevent bug bites
Insist your child wears shoes outside to minimize the risk of a bee or insect stings on the feet. Never use insect repellent on infants. For older children, bug spray can be used sparingly, but wash it off as soon as your child comes indoors. Also, check your child for ticks after being outside. If you find one, talk to your doctor about how to remove it. If your child develops hives or wheezing after an insect sting, he or she may be allergic. Seek prompt medical attention.
Always supervise your kids when they are playing on equipment. Teach them safe play habits, including sitting on the center of a swing and not twisting the swing chains, which can reduce their strength. Keep kids away from areas where lawn mowers are being used, and never allow children to ride with you on a lawn mower.