Summer is a great opportunity for families to spend quality time together. Whether it’s playing in the park, hiking or building sandcastles on the beach, summer days can create memories that last a lifetime.
But the hot season can also put you and your children at greater risk of injury. Always supervise children, and follow these safety tips from the Bryan County Emergency Services:
Be sun smart
• A young child’s skin is sensitive to the bright summer sun, so be sure to avoid sunburns.
• Apply sunscreen with at least 30 sun-protection factor on your child’s skin 15 minutes before going outside and apply again every two hours, especially right after your child has been in water or is sweating.
• Encourage children to play in the shade as much as possible, especially during peak sun hours between 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
• Make sure your child wears lightweight clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses that offer 100 percent ultraviolet protection.
• Keep babies younger than 6 months of age out of direct sunlight.
Watch out for water dangers
• According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second-leading cause of death for children. As a parent, be water-wise.
• Swim with your child in calm water without waves, and always know where the nearest lifeguard is before getting in the water.
• Don’t completely rely on flotation devices like life vests or floating baby seats to keep children safe; they can shift position, lose air or slip out from under a child.
• Never leave children unattended near water, as kids can drown in just a few seconds even if they know how to swim. Remember to supervise your child near bathtubs, toilets and buckets of water, too.
Survey the playground
• Kids love playing on swings and slides, but parents should first look for potential safety hazards.
• Playground equipment often warms up in the sun and can burn a child’s skin. Before your child plays, touch the metal bars and surfaces to make sure they aren’t too hot.
• Check playground equipment for rusted parts and loose splinters. These hazards could pinch your child’s skin.
• Be careful on slides. Make sure your child holds the slide’s rails when climbing the ladder or sitting at the top. Also, look for split or cracked plastic that could break if your child sits on it.
Banish the bugs
• Insects can be really annoying; their bites can be painful and even dangerous sometimes. Parents can help protect their child by using insect repellants.
• Only use products that are approved for children; follow the instructions carefully and wash off the repellant once your child is back inside.
• Avoid using scented soaps or lotions on your child, because perfumes can attract insects.
• Dress your child in light-colored clothing, which doesn’t tend to attract bugs.
Scooters, bikes and skateboards
• A helmet must be worn every time you ride a bike, scooter, skateboard or in-line skates. Remember to always fasten the safety strap.
• Always ride in safe areas and never at night.
• Learn the correct hand signals and use them when you turn or stop.
• Come to a complete stop before entering driveways, paths or sidewalks; then look left, right and left again for bikes, cars or people walking your way.