Summer is here and in most areas the sun is shining and the heat is turning up. With the beautiful weather and the longer days comes more fun outside. Playtime may take you and your family to the beach, the park, the pool and other outdoor activities like barbecues and bike rides. With all these fun activities, it is important to stay safe, especially with the little ones. To find some helpful hints on how to stay safe this summer, we turned to Mary L. Pulido, PhD. Dr. Pulido, currently serves as the Executive Director of The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and has provided some helpful tips to remember over the long, hot days of summer:
The NYSPCC Top Ten Summer Safety Tips for Your Children by Mary L. Pulido, Ph.D.
The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC), the first child protection agency in the world, wants all children to have a safe and happy summer. Here are our tips for keeping children safe:
Practice water safety.
- Public pools, backyard pools, the beach and lakes are all great places for swimming, but have different safety challenges — be familiar with them.
- Learn how to swim (adults too!). Most city Parks Departments offer free courses.
- Learn CPR; classes are offered all the time. Visit the American Red Cross website for more info.
Practice Sun Safety
- Avoid having your children exposed during the strongest rays of the day between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- Use sunscreen consistently. Make sure the label says it contains both UVA and UVB protection. For children six months and older, use at least SPF 30, preferably higher. Reapply it every two hours.
- Keep infants out of the sun. Sunscreen is not recommended for infants under six months old. If they must be in the sun, dress them in clothing that covers the body and a brimmed sun hat.
- For more sun safety info, visit this link.
Practice Heat Safety
- Never leave your child alone in a car, not even for a minute; the temperature can rise quickly putting them at risk.
- Plan early morning play; avoid peak sun hours between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- Keep your children hydrated. Carry water bottles with you, especially on hot summer days or trips to the beach where they’ll be in the sun.
- For more heat safety info, click here.
Practice Bike Safety
- Everyone in your family should wear a helmet; in many states, it’s required.
- Children should wear reflective clothing.
- Know and practice the rules of the road with your child. Children are killed as pedestrians in transportation accidents much too often. Teach them to ride in the same direction as cars, stop at all stop signs and obey traffic lights, and how to use hand signals.
- For more bike safety info, visit: kidshealth.org
Practice Barbecue Safety
- Keep small children away from the barbecue, it’s easy for them to get burned.
- Never leave the grill unattended.
- Keep matches and lighters away from children.
- Never use a propane or charcoal grill on the terrace or roof of any building. Thousands of fires are set accidentally each year. If you do have a propane tank, don’t store it indoors or underground and keep it away from children.
Practice Fireworks Safety
- Keep your children away from fireworks; in some areas, it’s illegal to have them at home. Each summer, we learn of tragedies when lighting them goes awry. Leave fireworks to the professionals.
Practice Fire Safety
- Don’t park your car in front of a hydrant; if there is a fire, this can put saving lives in peril.
- Overloaded electrical outlets are one of the major causes of residential fires. Make sure large appliances that use high wattage, such as air conditioners, have their own outlet.
- Go over your fire evacuation plan with your child.
- For more summer fire safety tips, click here.
Practice Playground Safety
- Watch out for hot surfaces that can burn children such as slides and swings.
- Make sure the safety surfaces are thick enough to protect children if they fall.
- Make sure there is an adult present to supervise at all times.
- For a playground safety checklist visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission
Practice Summer Camp Safety
- Make sure the camp has American Camp Association accreditation.
- Find out how the staff are screened and the ratio of staff to children.
- Find out how the camp handles emergencies.
- For more information on camp safety visit www.nyspcc.org.
Practice Stranger Safety
- Although it is a rare occurrence, there are strangers intent on harming children.
- Children need to know when it’s safe to approach a stranger, like when they are lost. A good rule is to approach someone wearing a uniform (a police officer, park employee, cashier).
- Children need to know never to go anywhere with a stranger who approaches them, unless the parent or babysitter says it’s okay.
- Play it safe; rehearse safety scenarios with your child. Role play how to make noise, scream and run.
- For more information about teaching your child about strangers visit www.FamilyEducation.com.
For more information about keeping your child safe visit www.nyspcc.org. Have a happy and safe summer!