5 Summer Safety Tips for Kids

small girl in sprinkler

Kids have accidents year round, but certain conditions are much more common in summer. When school ends, most kids increase the amount of time playing outdoors but there are little things we can all do to ensure that kids avoid the more serious injuries.

Here are five tips to keep your kids safe this summer.   

1. Make sure your child wears proper safety equipment. Parents, make sure your child wears a helmet when bicycling, along with wrist, elbow and knee pads when inline skating or skateboarding. Make sure the helmet fits flat and level and chin straps are snug, secure and form a V-shape around the ears. Look for a label or sticker that says the helmet meets the CPSC standard. I recommend visiting www.safekids.org, which has useful tips on numerous child safety issues.   

2. With the hot weather comes heat-related illness. Emergency department visits for dehydration and heat exhaustion are common in the summer. Keeping your child well-hydrated and avoiding prolonged exertion in the heat are key to avoiding heat related illness. Kids playing outdoors should break every 20 to 30 minutes to rehydrate. If your child feels overheated, lightheaded, nauseous, or develops a headache or stops sweating, it's time to get indoors to an air-conditioned environment and rehydrate.   

3. Ticks are a particular concern in the Midwest. Tick-borne diseases such as lyme disease, start showing up in the spring and peak in the summer months. To protect against ticks, especially when playing or hiking in woods or fields with long grass, have your child wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. They also can tuck clothing into pants and pant cuffs into socks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend using repellents with DEET, checking your clothing for ticks and showering after being outdoors. Make sure to check the hair for ticks as well. Ask for help to remove any ticks attached to the skin.   

4. Educate your children about swimming safety. Every child is different, so enroll children in swimming lessons when you feel they are ready. Whether swimming in a backyard pool or in a lake, teach children to swim with an adult. Older, more experienced swimmers should still swim with a partner every time. Supervise children when around water of any kind.  Make sure your child wears a life vest when around pools and open water (the inflatable arm bands are not sufficient to save your child's life).   

5. Never leave a child alone in a car for any length of time. It can be tempting to leave a child alone in a car while you quickly run into a store, but it can cause serious injury or even death. The temperature inside a car can rise so quickly that it can kill a child in as little as 15 minutes. We all live a fast-paced life style and our minds are working overtime. Everyone says: "I would never forget my child in the car." But every year children die from being accidentally forgotten in a car. We need to set reminders in place, such as putting the diaper bag in the front passenger seat and your purse or brief case in the back seat so you look into the back seat before exiting. Another suggestion is that you can put a large stuffed animal in the front seat when your child is in the car and when the child is not in the car the stuffed animal goes in the back seat. Always look in the back seat before locking the car. If you see a child alone in the car, please call 911.

Penny Lentz
PALS Coordinator - SwedishAmerican Hospital / EMS
Safe Kids Winnebago County Coalition Coordinator