Summer Safety: Keep Your Child Safe and Happy

by Lilly Gordon

dressed for the beachWhen the sun comes out, kids (and parents) sigh with relief. Everyone's ready to celebrate with fun, awesome summer activities!

Unfortunately, almost half of children's injury deaths happen between May and August.

So before your kids toddle off, be well-versed in these summer safety tips.

Summer Safety Tips

Protect their melons! When your child heads outside, don't forget a cap; this combats the effects of direct sun. If your child's head is out in the sun too long, they can suffer from sunburn or sunstroke. And remember the shades! Kids need eye protection, just like adults do. Sunglasses are available for babies as small as three months old, so there's no excuse not to have any. Besides, nothing's cuter than a baby in sunglasses!

Slather on the sunscreen! To protect your kid's delicate skin from harmful UV rays, choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or higher. Choose a waterproof children's sunscreen and apply it all over the face and body, being careful not to get any in the eyes. (Clothing moves around when children move around!) Remember that sunscreen only starts working about 30 minutes after it is applied and needs to be reapplied after a jaunt in the pool (even if it is waterproof).

Repel the bugs! Insect repellant is a must in the warm, summer months. Some insects cause disease while others just plain annoying! Try to find a natural repellant that utilizes citronella, lemon or eucalyptus to repel these tiny intruders instead of those that contain chemical DEET. If you do have to use a repellant with DEET, spray sparingly as high levels can cause sickness in children. Apply bug spray as soon as you step outside. Spray under and over clothing and hats, being sure to avoid your child's eyes.

Keep hydrated. Kids need to rehydrate about every 20 minutes, especially if they are playing in the sun. Avoid sugary drinks and choose good old H2O. Carrying around a reusable, BPA-free bottle is the best way to go as it can be refilled wherever there's a faucet nearby.

Find comfy shoes. While it's easier to let them go barefoot, it's also dirty and dangerous. Besides the obvious roundworm (caused by cat waste) infestation, stings and bites can happen if children put their tootsies in the wrong spot. Parks, sandpits and sidewalks can be an obstacle course for their feet. Small pieces of glass, rusty metal and sharp rocks can all be lurking in the tall grass or cool sand at favorite parks. Try to find comfortable, breathable, closed-toed shoes with gripping, flexible soles.

Stay in the shade. We all like to see a little tan on a kid. It makes them look healthy but letting children run around in extreme heat can be bad for their health. Heatstroke causes severe illness in children (and adults) and sometimes death. Hats and long sleeves won't help if they're simply out too long. On hotter days, have kids play in the shade or in an air conditioned or cool part of the house.

Review safety. Basic safety rules are the best way to protect children from harm:

  • Teach pool / water safety. Never leave children unsupervised around water and outfit smaller kids with lifejackets.
  • Practice traffic safety but don't let young kids cross the street on by themselves.
  • Stress bike helmet and cycling-safety rules. Kids under the age of 10 should not be allowed to ride in the street.
  • Repeat that "stranger danger" chat. Summer means outdoor activities and lots of trips to well-populated areas. Try to reinforce the standard rules.

Have fun and stay safe this summer with preparation and good safety tips for kids.

See these related articles: Buzz Off! What to Do When You Get Stung, Babies in the Sunshine and Navigating Traffic with Young Children.

Lilly Gordon is a freelance writer and web publisher. She is a wife, mother of two and self-proclaimed expert on Canadian Baby Stores.

Copyright © Lilly Gordon. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org. Photo credit: Christopher Hall.