Summer Safety for Families
Posted on July 14, 2022 by CHS
Families and child care providers, are you ready for summer fun with your children? The sun is shining, and most schools are on break for a few months; it is a perfect opportunity to spend quality time with the children in your care.
While summer fun may be the children’s main focus, you as the caregiver must continue to ensure that summer fun is experienced safely. With summer activities, there are some hazards to be aware of; however, there is no need to fear. Summer safety is incredibly important and easy to prepare for. There are four main summer concerns that all caregivers should consider:
- Safe Water Practices
- Sun Care
- Playground and Theme Park Safety
- General Health Concerns
Safe Water Practices
Swimming and water-related activities are a popular activity during the summer. They provide a cooling and exciting way for kids to be active. Caregivers must be extra vigilant when their children are playing in a swimming pool. Even if a child is a strong swimmer, accidents can happen. Please consider the following:
- Do not underestimate the dangers of drowning. Any amount of water, even shallow water, is dangerous to unsupervised children. Drowning is the leading cause of injury or death for young children ages 1 to 4. Always stay within arm’s reach whenever a child is in or near water.
- Pools with deepening water are a big risk to children who tend to forget rules or remember play area boundaries. Even a kiddie pool is a risk for smaller children who may not understand they need to roll over and face the surface to breathe.
- An unattended pool is a dangerous pool. Pool fences are a caregiver’s best defense in protecting wandering children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that families with backyard swimming pools install a four-sided isolation fence that is at least four feet tall around the pool, and it should have self-closing and self-latching gates. Fences should completely separate the pool from the house and play area to prevent children from accessing the water without supervision.
- Children should always wear a life jacket when taking part in boating or other water vehicle sports.
- Be aware of your pool’s water content or your local body of water’s water conditions. A pool with too many chemicals may harm your child’s skin. A pool with increased germs or other unhygienic items may cause your children to get sick.
- When you are at the beach, pay attention to the tide. Never take children into the water with large waves or undertow warnings. Life guard towers at the beach will display a flag when tides are unsafe or hazards are present. You can ask a lifeguard where it is safest to swim.
Children don't usually consider the consequences of too much sun exposure. It is important to teach your children the best ways of taking care of themselves in the sun:
- It is a good idea to accustom children to wearing a hat outdoors
- Make sure you know where the shade is
- Wear sunglasses with both UVB and UVA protection
- Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher
- Recognize the symptoms of heat stroke and how to treat it
- Keep your children and yourself hydrated
Playground and Theme Park Safety
When visiting public parks, be sure to establish and remind your children of the family rules, as well as the location’s rules (e.g. Park rules):
- Make sure your kids know your phone number
- Be aware of the location’s rules and inform your children in advance
- Assign a place to meet if you get separated
- Teach them about strangers, and identify who they can go to for help
In need of some easy and fun activities for your kids? Here are some at-home activities kids may enjoy this summer.
General Health Concerns
Know what is “normal” for the children in your care. Children may act out if they are not feeling well.
- Keep inhalers/medications up to date and on hand
- Monitor your child for signs of illness or tiredness
- Inform family members or other caregivers of your childrens’ needs while in their care
References and Resources:
- 50 Fun Summer Activities for Your Kids in 2018 – UNICEF Kid Power
- Is it Safe to Swim in Our Waters? – CA.gov
- NOAA Tides and Currents
- 4 things to consider when choosing sunglasses – Piedmont
- How to Choose & Use Sunscreen – Kids Health
- First Aid: Heat Illness – Kids Health
- Keep Kids Safe This Summer – CDC
- Summer Safety Tips for Early Care and Education Programs – U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
- Pool and Swimming Safety Tips – PoolSafely.gov
- Beach Warning Flags – United States Lifesaving Association