Keeping children safe - summer safety tips
Keeping children safe - summer tips
Be careful during the carefree days of summer
**Special tip! Parents... when camping in the great outdoors,
hiking, walking trails in the woods, etc., make sure your child
has a whistle on a string around their neck! In this way, should
they become lost, teach them to "hug a tree" and start
whistling! Sound carries a long way, and this can help locate them!!
As we enter the carefree days of summer, it is a great time for
children to be playing outside with their friends. It is also a
time when the rules may become a little more relaxed, and
children can find themselves with less adult supervision.
In addition, it is a time when children are more accessible to
people who may try to harm them, and parents must take
precautions to better ensure their children’s safety. With
more children outside for longer periods of time, predators see
opportunities to access unsupervised children. That’s why
it is even more important to review the safety rules below and
role-play these rules with your children.
“First and foremost, parents need to know who is
supervising their children,” said Nancy McBride, executive
director of the Florida branch of the National Center for Missing
& Exploited Children® (NCMEC/FL). “They should choose
summer programs, camps, and activities with care. Make certain
that the program is licensed, inquire about background screening
for employees, and find out what adult supervision is available
for outdoor activities and field trips. Parents should visit
these programs, unannounced, to see how the staff interacts with
the children. The best source of information about your children
is your children. Listen carefully when they tell you how their
Parents should also caution their children never to approach a
car, especially when someone they don’t know is inside,
regardless of what the person is saying to them. Predators have
been known to use a number of tricks to try to entice children to
go with them including ruses such as asking children to help them
find a lost puppy and asking for directions. Since children tend
to be helpful and seek adult approval, it is easy for them to
forget the rules and respond to the request.
“Children need to know it’s okay for them to say
no,” said McBride. “Their safety is much more
important, and they also need to know it is okay for them to tell
you if someone has bothered them or if they are frightened or
Don’t assume your children are safe when playing in the
yard. Frequently check on them and instruct them to tell you if
their plans change or if they want to go somewhere with a friend.
This goes for the older kids as well as for the younger ones. It
goes without saying that children are safer with other children
than when they are alone. But “safety in number's”
isn’t enough. Children need to know, remember, and follow
these safety rules.
Be sure to go over the rules with your children about whose homes
they can visit when you’re not there, and discuss the
boundaries of where they can and can’t go in the
Make sure your children know their full names, address, and
telephone number's and how to use the telephone. Be sure that they
know what to do in case of an emergency, like how to dial 911.
Caution children not to open the door when they are home alone.
Make certain that they understand not to tell anyone who calls
that they are home alone.
Because molesters and abductors are known to seek access to
children who are unsupervised, make sure your children are
supervised at all times especially in places like malls, movie
theaters, video arcades, and parks. Teach your children in whose
car they may ride. Children should be cautioned never to approach
any vehicle, occupied or not, unless accompanied by a parent or
Make sure your children know to stay away from pools, canals, or
other bodies of water without adult supervision.
Since daylight lasts longer, be sure your children know when they
need to be home, and instruct them to let you know if they are
going to be late. If you allow your children to play outside
after dark, make sure that they have reflective clothing and stay
close to home.
Choose babysitters with care. Obtain references from family,
friends, and neighbors. Observe the babysitter’s
interaction with your children and talk to your children about
their feelings about the babysitter.
Check out camp and other summer programs before enrolling your
children. See if a background screening check is completed on the
individuals working with the children. Make sure that there will
be adult supervision of your children at all times, and make sure
that you are made aware of all activities and field trips offered
by the camp or program.
Investigate daycare settings thoroughly before placing your
children. Make certain that the center or family daycare home is
licensed and parents are free to come and go as they wish.
Observe the personnel and activities several times before making
your decision, and visit unannounced after placement.
Be sure that all custody documents are in order and certified
copies are available in case your children are not returned from
a summertime visit from someone like a noncustodial parent,
grandparent, or other relative. Always listen to your children
and keep the lines of communication open. Your children are your
best source for determining if everything is okay. Teach your
children to get out of dangerous or uncomfortable situations
right away, and make sure that they know they can tell you about
anything that happens to them.
For additional information on child safety, visit NCMEC’s
web site at www.missingkids.com or call 1-800-THE-LOST
(1-800-843-5678). Tips reprinted with permission from the
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Copyright ©
1993 NCMEC. All rights reserved.
The following summer safety tips are from the American Academy
of Pediatrics (AAP). Feel free to excerpt these tips or use them in
their entirety for any print or broadcast story. Please attribute
these tips to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Fun in the sun
Babies under 6
exposure and dressing infants in lightweight long pants and
long-sleeved shirts and brimmed hats are still the top
recommendations from the AAP to prevent sunburn. However when
adequate clothing and shade are not available, parents can
apply a minimal amount of suncreen to small areas, such as the
infant's face and the back of the hands.
For young children:
sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside, and use
sunscreen even on cloudy days. The SPF should be at least
Heat stress in exercising children
intensity of activities that last 15 minutes or more should be
reduced whenever high heat and humidity reach critical levels.
(See policy statement for details)
beginning of a strenuous exercise program or after traveling to
a warmer climate, the intensity and duration of exercise should
be limited initially and then gradually increased during a
period of 10 to 14 days to accomplish acclimatization to the
prolonged physical activity, the child should be well-hydrated.
During the activity, periodic drinking should be enforced, eg,
each 20 minutes, 5 oz of cold tap water or a flavored sports
drink for a child weighing 88 lbs, and 9 oz for an adolescent
weighing 132 lbs, even if the child does not feel
should be light-colored and lightweight and limited to one
layer of absorbent material to facilitate evaporation of sweat.
Sweat-saturated garments should be replaced by dry
children alone in or near the pool, even for a moment.
fence at least four-foot high around all four sides of the
pool gates self-close and self-latch at a height children
equipment (a shepherd's hook - a long pole with a hook on
the end - and life preserver) and a portable telephone near the
inflatable swimming aids such as "floaties." They are
not a substitute for approved life vests and can give children
a false sense of security.
not developmentally ready for swim lessons until after their
fourth birthday. Swim programs for children under 4 should not
be seen as a way to decrease the risk of drowning.
infants or toddlers are in or around water, an adult should be
within arm's length, providing "touch
children should wear life jackets at all times when on boats or
near bodies of water.
the life jacket is the right size for your child. The jacket
should not be loose. It should always be worn as instructed
with all straps belted.
water wings, toys, rafts, and air mattresses should never be
used as life jackets or life preservers.
should wear life jackets for their own protection and to set a
Don't use scented
soaps, perfumes or hair sprays on your child.
where insects nest or congregate, such as stagnant pools of
water, uncovered foods and gardens where flowers are in
dressing your child in clothing with bright colors or flowery
To remove a
visible stinger from skin, gently scrape it off horizontally
with a credit card or your fingernail.
repellents containing DEET are the most effective.
concentration of DEET in products may range from less than 10
percent to over 30 percent. The benefits of DEET reach a peak
at a concentration of 30 percent, the maximum concentration
currently recommended for infants and children. DEET should not
be used on children under 2 months of age.
concentration of DEET varies significantly from product to
product, so read the label of any product you purchase.
maintain all equipment.
should be made of soft materials such as rubber, plastic or
children cannot reach any moving parts that might pinch or trap
any body part.
metal slides are cool to prevent children's legs from
should never purchase a home trampoline or allow children to
use home trampolines.
Do not push
your child to ride a 2-wheeled bike until he or she is ready,
at about age 5 or 6. Consider the child's coordination and
desire to learn to ride. Stick with coaster brakes until your
child is older and more experienced.
child with you when you shop for the bike, so that he or she
can try it out. The value of a properly fitting bike far
outweighs the value of surprising your child with a new
Buy a bike
that is the right size, not one your child has to "grow
into." Oversized bikes are especially dangerous.
needs to wear a helmet on every bike ride, no matter how short
or how close to home. Many accidents happen in driveways, on
sidewalks, and on bike paths, not just on streets.
protects your child from serious injury, and should always be
worn. And remember, wearing a helmet at all times helps
children develop the helmet habit.
Skateboard and scooter safety
should never ride skateboards or scooters in or near
skateboarders and scooter-riders should wear a helmet and other
should continue to develop skateboard parks, which are more
likely to be monitored for safety than ramps and jumps
constructed by children at home.
car seats and seat belts.
child reaches the top weight allowed for his car safety seat or
his ears have reached the top of his car safety seat, he needs
a booster seat. Booster seats should be used until he can
correctly use a lap/shoulder seat belt.
supplies with you, such as snacks, water, a first aid kit and
any medicines your child takes.
Always use a
car seat, starting with your baby's first ride home from
the hospital. Help your child form a lifelong habit of buckling
manufacturer's instructions and always keep them with the
car seat. Read your vehicle owner's manual for more
information on how to install the car seat.
child in the back seat. It is the safest place in the car
because it is farthest away from a head-on crash (the most
common type of crash).
system holds your child in the car seat and the seat belts hold
the seat in the car. Attach both snugly to protect your
rear-facing car seats should never be placed in a front seat
equipped with an air bag.
traveling alone to visit relatives or attend summer camp should
have a copy of their medical information with them at all
Lawn mower safety
Try to use a
mower with a control that stops the mower from moving forward
if the handle is let go.
younger than 16 years should not be allowed to use ride-on
mowers. Children younger than 12 years should not use
that sturdy shoes (not sandals or sneakers) are worn while
injuries from flying objects, such as stones or toys, by
picking up objects from the lawn before mowing begins. Have
anyone who uses a mower wear hearing and eye protection.
Do not pull
the mower backward or mow in reverse unless absolutely
necessary, and carefully look for children behind you when you
mow in reverse.
off the mower and wait for the blades to stop completely before
removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, or
crossing gravel paths, roads, or other areas.
Do not allow
children to ride as passengers on ride-on mowers.
can result in severe burns, scars and disfigurement that can
last a lifetime.
that are often thought to be safe, i.e. sparklers, can reach
temperatures above 1000 degrees F, and can burn users and
recommends prohibiting public sale of all fireworks, including
those by mail or Internet, and encourages parents to attend
professional fireworks displays instead of using fireworks at
time explaining your expectations for any time that your
children are unsupervised.
regular schedule of "check-in calls" in which your
child calls you to let you know how and what he/she is
time off from school does not mean time off from chores.
Household tasks help teach kids responsibility.
kids, establish rules about friends coming over to visit. Are
you ok with your child having friends over at the house without
first aid kit and teach children how to use it. Establish a
list of emergency phone contacts and keep it by the
alcohol and prescription medication in a location that is
completely inaccessible to children.
American Academy of Pediatrics, May, 2004
5465 Dutch Cove Road
Canton, NC 28716
Voice: 828/648-6768, Fax: 828/648-1466 site map
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