NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Summer Safety for Kids

Summer Safety for Kids

The final school bell has rung, the pencils and notebooks are packed away and the kids are ready for some summer fun! Children love the hot summer months, because they provide the perfect opportunity to spend lots of time outside. Whether it’s swimming in the pool, hiking through the woods, taking long walks, or going for a bike ride, there is something for everyone, no matter how young or old.

While we want children to enjoy this special time of year, as parents we need to remember that there are many potential dangers during the summer months, and it’s important to be aware of what they are. The more information one learns about how to prevent illnesses and injuries, the less likely they will occur.  There are many areas to cover when it comes to summer safety, and we’ll review just a few here..

Tick Bites - Ticks are responsible for a variety of illnesses including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. These diseases can be very serious. Learn ways to protect your family. Some suggestions include

  • tick/bug repellant
  • protective clothing (long sleeves, long pants, tucking pants into socks
  • insect repellant for pets
  • staying in the center of paths, keeping away from overgrown areas and not sitting directly on the ground
  • performing tick checks on all family members every day
  • being aware of signs/symptoms of tick-related illnesses
  • calling the doctor for any concerns and questions

        Helmet Safety - An appropriate helmet is a must whenever a child is “on wheels.” This means bicycles, scooters, skates, rollerblades, skateboards and more!

  • The helmet must fit properly.
  • Moms and dads should wear helmets as well.

    Pedestrian Safety - Teach children to walk, not run, across the street.

  • Children should cross only with an adult or an older, responsible child.
  • Whenever crossing the street, try to make eye contact with any drivers nearby, to be sure they see you.
  • Use sidewalks whenever possible.  Use crosswalks and never, never run out between parked cars.
  • Always hold your child’s hand near any moving or parked vehicles.
  • Adults always need to set a good example!

    Water Safety - Adult supervision is of paramount importance. Parents need to focus on their children 100% of the time. No distractions!

  • Remember, no child or adult is “drown proof.”
  • Practice “touch supervision” (a term used by the American Academy of Pediatrics). This means that at all times, the supervising adult is within an arm’s length of the child being watched, when near or in the water.
  • Teach kids to swim. Formal swimming lessons can protect young children from drowning.
  • Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Your CPR skills could save someone’s life.
  • Install a four-sided fence around home pools. Use self-closing and self-latching gates that open outward with latches that are out of reach of children.
  • Keep in mind that children can drown in many different water sources including: bathtubs, toilets, buckets, baby pools, backyard swimming pools, community pools, streams, creeks, lakes, rivers, oceans and other places.
  • Wear a life jacket every time you and your loved ones are on the water. It can greatly decrease your chances of drowning while boating.

    Sun Protection - Wear protective clothing and a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses (with 99-100% UV protection).

  • Sunscreen is a must (on sunny and cloudy days)! Look for products with UVA and UVB protection and an SPF of at least 15 (according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Association of Dermatology).
  • Sunscreen should be applied liberally 30 minutes before going out in the sun, and reapplied every two hours or sooner if swimming, sweating or toweling off.
  • Keep babies under 6 months out of the sun completely.

    Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac -It’s the oil from the leaves of these plants that cause the potential allergic reaction.

  • Consider wearing protective clothing to help decrease the amount of exposed skin.
  • Learn how to recognize what poison ivy, oak and sumac look like, so that they can be avoided.
  • Avoid bushy, overgrown areas and places which may contain these plants. Try to stay on paths.

    Dehydration and Heat-Related Illnesses - Keeping well hydrated is very important.

  • Do not wait until a child says he is thirsty before offering fluids. At this point, he is already dehydrated, so be sure to provide plenty of fluids before going outside, while out in the heat and afterwards.
  • Playing in the hot summer sun means lots of fluid losses, so avoid strenuous activity during peak sun hours (10 am- 6 pm). Look for shade and take lots of breaks.
  • Seek medical attention immediately for any signs of heat-related illness.

    Grilling - Never let children near the grill. Remember, it can remain very hot even after it is no longer being used.

    Summer Car Safety - Tragically, every year children die from overheating in cars.  Sometimes, they sneak into a car and become trapped or are forgotten, but many times they are intentionally left there by parents or caregivers while they run an errand.

  • NEVER LEAVE A CHILD ALONE IN A CAR—no matter what time of year it is, but especially in summer when the temperature of a closed car can reach more than 140 degrees in just minutes. 
  • Always double check yourself that your child is safely in the house or has been dropped off at daycare—never assume someone else brought the child in, and then lock the doors to prevent young children from sneaking or playing in the car.  Ask your child care provider calls right away if you don’t show up at the regular time.
  • Warn children that it is never safe to play in a car and make sure they know it is not allowed.
  • Because temperatures can get so high in a car, also be sure to touch the interior before you get in or put baby in.  If the seat, seat belt or steering wheel is hot to your touch, the car can burn your baby.  Open all the doors and windows and let the car cool off before you drive.
  • Make this year's summer break memorable by having fun and helping yourself, your friends, and others stay safe.



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