Summertime brings with it sweet memories made from pool days, bike rides, road trips and ice cream cones. It’s a fun season, but it can also open up potential dangers for children of all ages. Whether you’re taking your kids to the local community pool for a day of fun in the sun or handing over the keys for your family car to your newly licensed teenager, here are some summertime tips to keep everyone safe.
Nearly 1,000 children drown every year, with those ages one to four at the greatest risk. Adolescents may also be at risk as they can be overconfident in their swimming abilities and are more likely to combine swimming with alcohol. Swimming lessons are a fun and beneficial way to teach children of all ages about the importance of water safety. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends that parents with pools at home take extra safety measures to contain the pool with a 4-sided fence that isolates it from the house.
Water safety tips
- Never leave children unattended or with another child while in or near bathtubs, swimming pools or other open water
- Don’t leave children alone in the bathroom
- Teach your child to enter the water feet first
- Choose swimming spots in natural water carefully, and know the water depth before entering or diving
- Maintain an arm’s length distance and provide constant touch supervision as the adult in charge
- Focus on your children and don’t become distracted by other activities
Learning to ride a bike is one of childhood’s greatest milestones. All too often, however, minor and serious injuries happen when children fail to follow bicycle safety rules. Accidents can happen in driveways or on sidewalks and bike paths. Wearing a helmet at all times is imperative! Ensure a bike is the proper size at every age. A child should be able to sit on the seat with their hands on the handlebars and place the balls of both feet on the ground. Finally, always ride with traffic not against it.
Bike safety measures
- Always wear a helmet
- Make sure both the bike and helmet are the right size for your child
- Ensure bike is equipped with foot brakes
- Obey the rules of the road
- Never allow your child to ride a bike at dusk or after dark
Traveling this summer? It can be the perfect time for a vacation or road trip, meaning spending more time in vehicles. Child safety seats can reduce the risk of death in motor vehicle crashes by as much as 71 percent. The American Academy of Pediatrics provides tips to keep kids safe when traveling.
Travel safety tips
- Keep your child in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible, until at least two years of age
- Use a forward-facing car seat from the time they outgrow the rear-facing seat until at least four years of age
- Use belt-positioning booster seats from the time they outgrow forward-facing seats until between eight and 12 years of age
- Use lap and shoulder seat belts for children who have outgrown booster seats and can properly fit into an adult seat belt
Related: Tips for Buying First Car for Foster Youth
Social media safety
When school’s out, many children like to stay connected to classmates and friends through social media. As connected as kids and teens are today, it can be overwhelming for parents to know and understand everything their children are doing online. It’s important to talk about social media and internet safety with your kids. Have conversations about how to avoid strangers, how to prevent revealing too much personal information and what cyberbullying is all about.
Internet safety measures
- Educate yourself about social media so you can understand how your children are using it
- Teach your children about the potential permanency of posting something online
- Explain why personal information shouldn’t be shared online
- Talk about the importance of privacy
- Ensure your child knows what cyberbullying is and how to report and prevent it
We all must work together to stay safe. Here’s to a happy and healthy summer from all of us at SAFY!