As the school year ends and summer vacation begins, don’t forget these ten important rules!
Give kids your undivided attention: Actively supervise children throughout the summer, whether it’s at the playground or in and around water. Small children can drown in as little as one inch of water.
2. Use the Water Watcher strategy: When there are several adults present and children are swimming, use the Water Watcher strategy to designate an adult as the Water Watcher for a certain amount of time (such as 15-minute periods) to prevent lapses in supervision and give parents a chance to visit, read, make phone calls or take a bathroom break.
3. Educate your children about swimming safety: Every child is different, so enroll children in swimming lessons when you feel they are ready. Whether swimming in a backyard pool or in a lake, teach children to swim with an adult. Older, more experienced swimmers should still swim with a partner every time. Teach children to never play or swim near drains or suction outlets, which can cause situations where kids can get stuck underwater.
4. Learn CPR and First Aid: We know you have a million things to do, but learning CPR and first aid should be at the top of the list. It will give you tremendous peace of mind – and the more peace of mind you have as a parent, the better.
5. Stay hydrated and protect your skin: When you are outside having fun it can be hard to remember that your body has specific needs when in the summer sun. Even if you are not sweating it is important to continually drink water while in the sun to help prevent dehydration and heatstroke. Protecting your skin is also important and we want to prevent sun burns and potential damage that could cause cancer. Stay in the shade as much as possible, wear a hat, long sleeves and pants and wear sunscreen to prevent sun exposure.
6. Wear life jackets: Always have your children wear a life jacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard while on boats, around open bodies of water or when participating in water sports. Make sure the life jacket fits snugly. Have the child make a “touchdown” signal by raising both arms straight up; if the life jacket hits the child’s chin or ears, it may be too big or the straps may be too loose.
7. Spot the Tot: Do a quick walk around your car before backing up to make sure there isn’t someone playing behind the car. If you park in a garage open the garage and ensure the driveway and surrounding area is clear. Always supervise children when leaving home by having the care provider hold the child’s hand or hold little ones in arms while the car is backing out.
8. Never leave your child alone in a car, not even for a minute: It can be tempting to leave a child alone in a car while you quickly run into a store, but it can cause serious injury or even death in a matter of minutes. Reduce the number of deaths from heatstroke by remembering to ACT – avoid heatstroke, create reminders, and take action if you see a child left alone.
9. Wear a helmet for biking and other wheeled sports: We have a simple saying: “Use your head, wear a helmet.” It is the single most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from bike crashes. Kids should wear a helmet when riding a bike, scooter, skateboard, skates or ATV.
10. Always buckle up: No matter how long or how far you will be traveling in the car, make sure that everyone is properly buckled in car seats and seat belts. Unbelted persons or objects in the vehicle can become projectiles in a crash and they may cause serious injury or death to others.
Follow these rules and you’ll be able to dance the summer away!