Made in the Shade: Keeping Kids Safe Under the Sun

Summer is a time of high energy and outdoor activities – safety first!

 

Camping, swimming, roller-skating, biking, soccer, horseback riding, what do these things all have in common? Summer! Great memories are made this time of year, but to keep them positive let’s review some important safety rules so that everyone has fun without consequences.

Not to rain on your summertime parade, but accidents, injuries and deaths are common this time of year. Heat stroke, sun poisoning, dehydration, and sunburn are just a few ways that kids can get sick, and these are all preventable. The Nationwide Children’s Hospital estimates that the most common injuries in order during summer are:

  • Falls Keep a close eye on your tree-climbers and children using recreational sporting gear such as roller-blades and hover boards.
  • Bicycle injuries ­– insist on proper gear and a bike your child can control
  • Burns – campfires and fireworks are often the culprits, but with younger children, scald burns from hot food or water are also frequent
  • Motorized vehicles­ – quads, scooters, cars and golf carts
  • Drowning is sadly one of the highest causes of death among small children

So in light of these risk factors, choose your kid-friendly activities wisely. Here are some tips for prevention.

 

  1. Everyone needs sunscreen. Skin cancer rates are growing among people with darker skin, in part because those blessed with melanin don’t feel the burn. Look for broad spectrum products so that you and your family are protected against both UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreen wears off, so always opt for the water-resistant variety and reapply.
  1. Hydrate. Kids will get so busy in the summer that they will forget to eat, and when they do drink, they tend to go for lemonade and soda. Make sure they also quaff plenty of water, even if they are in the pool.
  1. Cover up. In the peak heat of the day, use lightweight clothing to cover up, utilize the shade and get everyone a reliable hat. If your kids are playing sports, don’t let them wiggle out of their protective gear just because it’s hot.
  1. Team up with adults. Just as children are instructed to use the buddy system, so should adults. Use verbal confirmation to determine who has eyes on the kids and never assume that your friends are on it by turning your back.
  1. Relay the rules of both the ‘how’ and the ‘why’. If kids don’t know why they should take safety seriously, they are less likely to follow the rules. To prevent injuries, explain why this is critical and apply the learning to barbeques, campfires, fireworks and anything else that requires adult supervision.
  1. Swimming etiquette. These rules are very important because it only takes a second for a small child to slip unnoticed under the water. Model good communication. No horseplay or running by the poolside, and if you are at the beach, plant your crew right in front of a lifeguard just as an extra precaution.

 

The summer is loaded with possibilities, but to ensure they are the desirable kind, make a checklist with all other supervising adults so everyone is on the same page. Then get out there and have some fun in the sun!

 

 

 

References:

  1. http://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/doctors-warn-of-common-summer-injuries-for-children-

About Susie Almaneih

Susie Almaneih spent several years during her young adulthood teaching children dance at her church group, as well as other cultural-based activities. Susie now spends as much time as she can giving back to the families in her community. Over the years, this love for community has evolved into a deeper love for delivering positive and creative content and awareness to families of all ages.

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