June 16, 2008

Tips for a Fun and Safe Summer

By Patti Neary, Education Instructor, Families and Consumers

children swimmingSummer is here and the kids are out of school! Summertime can be a fun time for
family and children, jam packed with enjoyable things to do. It’s also the time of year when children and teens are supervised less and have more time to engage in outdoor activities, which makes summertime a prime time for small and serious injuries. Talk with your children about safe practices and good choices to keep them safe and healthy.

Pool and Water Safety
  • Never leave children unattended in or near the water even if they know how to swim.

  • Always swim in pairs.
  • Avoid using inflatable swimming aids such as “floaties”. They give children
    a false sense of security. Get an approved life vest or personal floatation
    device (PFD). Use life jackets when out on boats, near open bodies of water and
    when participating in water sports.

  • Know which of your child’s friends and neighbors have pools. Make sure your child will be supervised by an adult when visiting.

  • Keep rescue equipment (long pole, life preservers, portable telephone) near the pool.

  • Do not let children dive into water unless the child has learned proper diving techniques and an adult is present.

  • If you have infants and young children at home install fencing that completely surrounds all pools, spas, whirlpools and hot tubs.

  • Pay attention to open water. Be aware of undercurrents and changing waves and undertows.

  • Learn infant and child CPR

Sun Safety

  • Encourage your child to wear a hat with a visor or adequate brim and sunglasses that filter out ultraviolet rays.

  • Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside even on cloudy days; use a sunscreen with at least a SPF of 15. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming or sweating.

  • Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during peak times, between 12pm and 4pm.

  • Be aware that exposure is intensified when sunlight is reflected off sand and water.

  • When it is hot outside do not leave children in a vehicle alone, or allow them to play in an unlocked car. Temperatures inside a car can reach 125ยบ in just 20 minutes, even with a window cracked.

Heat Stress in Exercising Children

  • Drink water, Drink water, Drink water!! Make sure kids are well hydrated during these hot summer months and water is one of the best drinks to do that.

  • Clothing worn should be light-colored and light weight when exercising or playing outside.

  • Before a prolonged physical activity, the child should be well hydrated, and should be encouraged to drink during the activity.

  • Sports practices, games and strenuous activities played in the heat should be shortened and frequent water breaks given.

Bicycle Safety

  • Buy a bike that is the right size, not one your child has to grow into. Oversize bikes are especially dangerous. For proper fit go to check out this website

  • Children should wear a helmet at all times. It helps protect them from serious injury.

  • When purchasing a helmet make sure it meets safety standards and is properly fitted.

  • Teach your child to check for traffic before entering a street or intersection by looking left and right.

  • Explain rules of the road to your child. Don’t overestimate your child’s bike riding skills!!

  • Older teens should wear light colored clothing and use reflectors so they can be seen at dusk.

Skateboard, Scooter, In-Line Skating, and Heelys Safety

  • Children and teens should never ride skateboards or scooters in or near traffic.

  • Make sure they always wear a helmet, protective gear, and wrist guards when skateboarding or using a scooter.

  • Many communities have skateboard parks so teens have a safe place to ride. See if there is one close to your home.

  • While inline skating or wearing Heelys (shoes that roll) wear appropriate protective equipment and use designated paths or rinks not on the streets.

  • Only ride during daytime hours.

  • Never wear headphones while skateboarding or skating; headphones block traffic sounds.

For more information on child safety issues contact the local Safe Kids Coalition:
boy wearing PFD
SAFE KIDS Florida Suncoast
Led by: All Children's Hospital of St. Petersburg
Coordinator: Jean Shoemaker
801 6th St SSt. Petersburg, FL 33701727-767-8581

Source for article-

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