NDSU Extension - Mercer County

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Keeping Kids Safe Outdoors

children's safety, keeping kids safe, drownings, car safety, playground safety, farm safety

Submitted by Dena Kemmet, Extension Agent/Family and Consumer Science

Whether you are a parent, grandparent, neighbor, friend or relative, you need to think about the ages of the children who will visit and how to keep them safe around your home, farm, garage, machinery and grounds as we move into outdoor season.

“Young children ages 5 and younger require constant supervision,” says Dena Kemmet, Family and Consumer Science Extension Agent. “Curious children of all ages can suffer serious, preventable injury, or what we used to refer to as accidents, and even death.”

Safekids Worldwide™ (www.safekids.org) offers some great tips and reminders for a whole list of common things that children are seen for in the emergency room every day. For example, 64,000 children are seen at the ER annually due to accidental poisoning. How do you secure all of the chemicals in your home and buildings?

The No. 1 killer of children 1 to 4 years old is drownings. This can include the rainwater that collects in a big bucket behind the garage, as well as the slough or the bathtub. Do you have water hazards that need your attention?

This excellent safety resource also breaks down risk categories by age.

Infants are new to the family. To keep from forgetting your precious baby in a hot car, try these tips: Put your cellphone, purse or other important belongings in the back seat. When you stop the car and retrieve your stuff, you will see the baby! Keeping your phone in the back also will keep you from distracted driving.

Also, never leave your child in the car, not even for one minute. Call 911 if you see a child left alone in a car.

Children 1 to 4 years old love playgrounds. Safe playgrounds are well maintained and have separate, shorter equipment for children 5 years and younger. Check to see that ample soft-surface materials are under the equipment and the playground has no dangerous, rusted or broken pieces every time you play.

Adults have to help children learn to negotiate traffic wherever they live. Busy farmyards easily can be as dangerous as a city street when children are present. Talk to your children about having a “safe spot” to wait when vehicles and equipment are starting and moving. That way, the driver can see and count all of the children in one place.

Encourage drivers to walk all the way around the vehicle before getting in to start the engine. Toys and pets behind a vehicle may tempt children to run behind the car to rescue whatever they see back there.

What better time to stock a first-aid kit than at the start of the summer season, when many accidents occur. While you can't prevent all accidents, you can be prepared.

Adult supervision is always key! Check out the www.safekids.org website today. By being aware of your children’s current ages and stages of development, along with having good safety practices, you can spend a long, warm, safe summer outdoors.

Source: Kim Bushaw, NDSU Extension Service, family science specialist

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