Some of us parents believe that we can prevent all accidents from occurring when it comes to protecting our children. The truth is—we can’t! However, that doesn’t mean that we should drop the ball and go to the other extreme of ignoring all summer safety rules.
One important factor in preventing accident-related injuries is good supervision. According to Derek Linklater, a pediatric emergency medicine doctor at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, parents need to be more aware of what their children are doing and their safety. Do you keep a close eye on your children at the playground, swimming pool, biking, and so on? If you cannot be with your children, then the person you delegate must be responsible in understanding the safety rules. Also make sure the delegated supervisor doesn’t have too many children to watch. No matter how good the supervisor, you can only watch so many kids at one time. Recently, my friend’s daughter broke her arm while swinging from the monkey bars. The adult supervisor, although a veteran teacher of many years, had eight children to watch. Another adult set of eyes would certainly have helped.
There’s more to safety than supervision. Here are a few summer safety-related reminders:
- Swimming: Never let children swim alone. Make sure all pool areas are fenced in and kept closed to protect smaller children from wandering in. Also, take note of possible entrapment from suction and spa drains. Keep kids away from these areas. If these areas are broken, do not use the pool; notify the pool operator immediately.
- Biking & Other Wheels: Children on scooters and skateboards should wear helmets, including those riding bikes. Padding such as knee and elbow pads are also recommended for skateboarders and those on wheels.
- Hydration: Keep your precious ones hydrated. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, make sure during hot and humid days that the kids drink water or a flavored sports drink before their activity and during the activity. Play and break should be the motto. It is recommended during hot humid days that children drink 5 ounces every 20 minutes if they are about 90 pounds; and 9 ounces if they are an adolescent at about 130 pounds.
- Clothing: Children should wear light-weight clothing as well as clothing that will allow their body to sweat. This may sound like a no-brainer—but it is definitely important.
- Outside Games/Events: Very hot humid days may require that outside games or events be shortened.
- Playgrounds: Once again, playground activity should be supervised. Look for safety mats and loose-fill materials around the swings and slides at least six feet in all direction. Loose-fill material made up of sand or some approved filler should be at least 9 inches to 12 inches deep.
- Protrusions: Watch out for bolts or protrusions that are not covered in the playground.
These are just a few safety-related reminders. Summer should be fun not broken bones and injuries. Think ahead with the appropriate supervision and stay alert. Keeping your children safe isn’t rocket science, just plain common sense. Enjoy!