Safety tips for kids: A brief overview of tips to keep your children safe while playing outdoors year-round
How to stay safe while playing outdoors
Kids love playing outdoors. There is a lot to do for the kids and for the parents trying to keep them safe. One of the most important tips is water. Children are smaller and they dehydrate much faster than adults. Keep them drinking even when they don’t ask, by the time a child asks for a drink they are already partially dehydrated. Carry a cooler bag with grapes and watermelon in it; both fruits are high in water.
Whether you are in your backyard or a playground there are things you can do to keep your child safe. No strings/drawstrings on their clothes as these can catch and choke. Close fitting clothing won’t catch on equipment either. Walk over the playground and look for sharp edges or corners. Equipment that is broken or not attached properly should be avoided. The surface of the playground should be springy or soft. A hard surface can cause serious injuries from a trip or fall. Metal slides can get very hot in summer. If there just seems to be too many problems or too many children running around that you can’t keep an eye on your child, try another playground. For younger children, find a playground that has an area designed for them, as the equipment is more appropriate. Always be sure your child is supervised.
While kids are outside having a great time, don’t forget to prevent sunburn. It is best to keep them out of the direct sunlight. The sun’s rays are strongest typically between 10am and 3pm. Apply sunscreen before you leave the door. Your kids may stand a bit stiller then while you cover all exposed areas, including the tops of ears. A SPF of at least 20 is recommended and watch for a reaction if it is a first time use of a sunscreen. You may want to just use a chemical-free sun block, also called a physical block, instead of a chemical based sunscreen.
Watch out for insects. Bees and other flying insects get attracted to dark colors and prints that may look like flowers so go for light-colored clothing. Bites and stings will happen so keep a credit card handy and some lotion for itchy bug bites. The credit card is an easy way to scrap out a bee stinger without driving it in further. Use a mosquito repellent also. If it has DEET in it, make sure it is no stronger than 10% and always apply any type of repellent to the clothes instead of the skin. If a splinter should occur, use a piece of masking tape to draw it out. If there are bees and sticks around, there could be poison ivy, poison oak or sumac. The rhyme about the number of leaves isn’t true so use caution instead.
Riding a bike, rollerblades, scooter or any other wheeled vehicle, don’t forget to add the appropriate safety gear. A proper fitting helmet for your child is essential for safety. Wrist guards, knee and elbow pads may also be good choices depending on the mode of transportation.
Be careful around swimming pools and lakes. Even a child who has had swimming lessons can get in trouble in a matter of seconds. Never leave a child unattended while in the water for any reason. Floatation devices are useful and fun to play with but they are no substitute for adult supervision.
Summer isn’t the only time kids are outside; all seasons have their fun points. In winter be sure that they are bundled warmly with hats and mittens (mittens tend to keep hands warmer than gloves). But make sure that with the running around that they don’t get overheated inside. They might take off their coats. Warm them up afterwards with a nice hot drink.
Times when it looks like rain, watch for lightening and get undercover or in a vehicle or building if you spot it.
Keep your cars and other vehicles locked when your kids are outside. It isn’t safe for kids to be alone in a car, even if there aren’t any keys. They can get trapped inside and get overheated and have heat stroke. So just make a habit of locking up when you get out.