Family vacations, a break from school, and time to play outside or beat that video game—what more could a kid ask for than summertime? But all that fun doesn’t come without risks. It’s important to keep your children safe this summer, too.
Stock up on SPF.
Did you know that having just a few severe sunburns through childhood can increase your risk of skin cancer? Be sure you’ve got plenty of sunscreen on hand with at least SPF 15 and make sure you and your child apply it 30 minutes before heading outside and reapply as needed (or at least every two hours). Follow expert guidelines to keep your kids (and yourself) safe from the sun beyond sunscreen, too—head to shady spots for a break from direct sun exposure, and throw on a hat for extra protection. If your children are young enough to be in a stroller, be sure you’re using a sunshade or a similar tool to protect them from the sun’s rays.
Protect them in the pool.
Now that you’re set on sunblock, make sure your children are safe in and around the water as well. Consider installing swimming pool fencing if you don’t have it already to keep your little ones from falling in and heading out unattended. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends “a fence of at least four feet in height” around all sides of your backyard pool. Sign your kids up for swimming lessons if they haven’t had them to reduce drowning risks and talk to them about pool safety.
Get them active.
Many kids have plenty of energy and will run around all day if you’d let them, while others would much rather stay inside with a book or their Nintendo Switch. Whatever their preference, it’s important to get some physical activity in the mix—the American Heart Association recommends at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day for children and teenagers. Head to the playground or look into a local sports league, if your kids would like that sort of activity. Even if your child isn’t a fan of exercise on their own, look into some ways to spark their interest.
Find ways to keep them entertained.
As a general rule, if your children have plenty to do, they’ll be less likely to get into a dangerous situation. Of course, parents know that this is easier said than done; after all, even the toddler who has all the toys they could ever need has probably set them aside in favor of scribbling a Sharpie over the playroom walls at one time or another. Try to strike a balance between activities that are supervised or get the whole family involved and those that let your kids go solo (and give you a much-needed break in the process).
Set a good example.
As important as it is to keep your kids safe, it’s just as important to be a great example of personal safety. Apply sunscreen as directed when you’re headed outside. Practice pool safety, like learning CPR in case of an emergency. Get outside and go for a walk or jog—get the kids to come along on an after-dinner stroll or load the little ones into your double stroller travel system to get them started with good exercise habits early. Pick up a good book and read on the patio or set up a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy. By keeping yourself safe, you’ll not only set a good example for your children, but you’ll make sure you’re around to keep them safe as long as possible.
With these tips in mind, it’s easy to keep your children safe this summer, whether you’re diving into your pool each morning or going for a walk as a family. Stay safe, and enjoy your summer!