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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Summertime: Taking Precaution & Still Having Fun

The school year is over, and more than two months of freedom are laid before our kids. Sure, summer means uninhibited fun and games, but children need to remember to stay safe this summer, too. Whether at the pool, in the sun or around town, there are a few tips every parent should know to help their children safely enjoy all of the pleasures of summer. 

Water Safety 

The best way to ensure your children’s safety around water is to make sure they are supervised at all times. Public pools and beaches have lifeguards on duty, provided they are open. Private pools, whether in your own or a neighbor’s backyard, will not. A parent or guardian should always be present when children are in the pool.

Read these tips to protect autistic wanderers

The Consumer Product Safety Commission found that at the time of a pool accident, typically at least one parent was home when it occurred. Simply having an adult in the house is not enough to prevent these types of accidents.

Investing in one or more safety barrier, such as pool fencing, a door alarm or a swimming pool cover, may provide additional security. Though these measures aren't foolproof, coupled with direct adult supervision, they'll make any pool area safer.

Sun & Outdoor Safety 

Protecting kids from the summer sun goes beyond wearing sunscreen. Children must keep hydrated, and they should know the signs of heat exhaustion, which can lead to heat stroke.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of heat stress include: 
  • Heavy sweating
  • Muscle cramps 
  • Dizziness or weakness 
  • Nausea 
  • Quick, weak pulse 
  • Fast, shallow breathing

The best way to avoid heat exhaustion is to stay hydrated and cool. Teach your children the importance of having a water bottle with them at all times throughout the day and taking frequent breaks in a cool or shady area during strenuous activities.

Poison ivy and insect bites could ruin a few summer days, too. If you live in a region where poison ivy or oak is a risk, teach your kids what it looks like, so they can avoid it. If insects are troublesome, have them wear any of the variety of store-bought or homemade insect repellents available.

Be aware of weather advisories, and bring your children inside for some indoor activities during the hottest time of the day, when the risk of heat exhaustion is the greatest. Offer them a break and a cold glass of water and may be take the time to make a fun activity out a "safety game." 

Public Safety 

Keeping your children safe in public places isn't always easy, but you may be able to rest easier if you know you’ve taught them how to respond in potentially dangerous interpersonal situations. One of the most important things children should know is their address and phone number. Teach them about calling 911 and when is an appropriate time to do so.

Also, work with them so they understand who it's OK to talk to. Even very young children should be able to understand the difference between a friend and a stranger, and that, if they feel threatened, that it is best to make a public scene instead of attempting to hide. 

Finally, parents should make sure that younger children are supervised when in public places, and that older children, while allowed a bit more freedom, should always use the buddy system when they’re out.

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