by Carles Cavazos Brito
With no snow or heavy winter clothing to slow them down, your toddler can dash wildly about, into every adventure summer has to offer and into a few risky situations.
Kids this age use a hands-on approach to exploration and often give the world a taste-test. They poke everything and eat anything -- except that carefully prepared lunch.
One- and two-years-olds have very few fears and no real concept of danger. Your toddler might be scared to death of that sweet lamb at the petting zoo and completely oblivious to the poison oak under foot.
Summer Safety for Toddlers
What can you do to keep your toddler free from summertime hazards? These precautions can make sure your child has tons of safe, summertime fun!
Swimming, the Beach and Water Safety
Keep an eye on your toddler. In a crowd of kids that can be difficult. Some moms give themselves an advantage with a bright or uniquely-patterned suit. Some even use harnesses which seem cruel, but it's better than the alternative if you have a runner.
Water safety tips: During the summer months, drownings increase by 89 percent. What can you do to to help prevent the unthinkable from happening?
• Keep a fence around the pool area.
• Stay in the water with your toddler, within arms reach.
• Wear approved floatation devices in boats and on docks.
• Have frequent water and hydration breaks.
• If you see lightning or hear thunder, get out of the water.
• Consider signing your child up for toddler swim lessons. In 2010, the AAP changed their recommendations when early lessons reduced drowning deaths.
Fun in the sun: Sun protection can mean a kid-friendly sunscreen, protective clothing, playing in the shade or a combination of all three.
Protect your toddler's eyes and the delicate skin around them. When you're picking out the perfect pair of sunglasses, look 100% UV absorption.
Grains of sand: Kids who play in the sand end up with it just about everywhere, including ears, diapers, mouth and eyes. To clear sand out of your toddler's eyes, wash your hands and then rinse it out with a few handfuls of warm water.
Sandbox companions: Sandboxes can double as a litter box for critters and make a cozy home for spiders and bugs. Seal yours up between uses and check for unwanted companions before a play session.
When your toddler reaches for the bumblebee on a dandelion you might freeze or you might behave like my friend. She yelled "Bee!" and ran like crazy. Of course, the kids followed her.
The first time your baby gets stung, there shouldn't be more than itching or mild discomfort. Later stings could bring on more serious symptoms. Keep an eye out for hive, swelling or trouble breathing. If these appear, your child needs immediate medical attention.
To minimize the risk of bee and insect stings, avoid brightly colored and patterned clothes.
Heat Exhaution and Dehydration
Is your toddler too busy to drink. Offer lots of water or ice pops. While you're all sipping water, add another layer of sunscreen.
Dehydration and overheating are known to go hand-in-hand. Is your child thirsty, complaining of abdominal cramps, feels cool or clammy to the touch, and acts tired? These all signal heat exhaustion.
Bring your tot into to a cool room, offer fluids or popsicles, and sponge down with a cool cloth. If your child doesn't improve or has any symptoms of heat stroke, call 911 or take them to emergency room right away.
In the car: The temperature in a car just takes a few minutes to get dangerously hot, even in moderate weather, or with the windows down. Follow these three tips to prevent heat stroke injuries:
• Even if your errand should just take a minute, bring your toddler along. Why would you leave them in the car?
• When you get home, get your child out of the car and then unload the groceries and other items.
• Lock the car and put the keys away so your tot can't get into it.
Fireworks, Barbecues and Other Hot Stuff
Is the grill heating up? You don't want your kid to touch it, so move the play area to another part of the yard.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that you never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks. One mom shared a safer sparkler tip with us. She pokes the sparkler through a disposable cup and has her toddler reach into the cup and hold the handle. The cup offers protection from sparks and mom's right there to guide the tiny hand.
Don't Eat That!
We've all seen a toddling babe bend down, pluck up a choice crumb and pop it quickly into their mouth. Sometimes it's a bug, a stick or bit of food.
That dab of potato salad or bit of deviled egg could have been sitting there warming up for quite some time. Especially during picnics and barbecues in the hot weather, foods can spoil sooner.
Young children are especially vulnerable to food poisoning. Try to keep hot foods hot and cold food cool. Bring along an ice chest and quickly store such leftovers as potato salad with mayonnaise dressing and grilled chicken.
Plants and other toxins: Know the plants in your yard. Fence off or remove those that are poisonous. Teach your child as early as possible to not pick or eat anything without first checking with an adult.
What helps keep your toddler safe in the summer? We'd love to hear your tips!