Follow these 10 safety tips from the Utah Department of Health to keep your kids injury-free this summer.
Summer is one of the most fun times of the year for kids, but it’s also the time when kids are the most at risk for serious injury.
The summer is a great time to connect with family and friends and spend time outdoors, hanging out by the pool or riding bikes around the neighborhood. But with all these activities come safety risks that we may not always think about. For example, two-thirds of drowning deaths occur in the summer, between May and August, and most commonly on the weekends.
1. Use the Water Watcher strategy. One of the most common drowning scenarios involves an under-supervised child wandering off during a weekend family gathering – with several adults present but none designated as the official “child watcher” – and then falling into an open body of water, such as a stream or pool. Use the Water Watcher card strategy by designating an adult as the Water Watcher for a certain amount of time (such as 15-minute periods). The designated Water Watcher is given the Water Watcher card and are responsible to watch kids in the water for the set time period.
2. 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.
3. Learn CPR. Learning infant and child CPR will give you tremendous peace of mind if something does happen– and the more peace of mind you have as a parent, the better.
4. Use appropriate car seats and buckle up every ride. Make sure children are riding in the appropriate car seat or booster seat and that everyone else in the car is wearing seat belts.
5. Wear life jackets. Everyone should 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.
6. Drink water during sports. Have your kids bring a water bottle to practice and games and drink plenty of water before, during, and after play. This is especially important in summer months to avoid dehydration.
7. Set up your grill with safety in mind. Use long-handled grilling tools and position your grill well away from siding, deck railings, and overhanging branches, while keeping a safe distance from play areas and foot traffic. Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below the grill so it cannot be ignited by heat.
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 for a few minutes, 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. Helmets are the single most effective safety device to reduce head injury and death from bike crashes. Kids should wear a helmet when riding a scooter, skating, skateboarding, or biking.
10. Wear a helmet and other appropriate safety gear while riding Off Highway Vehicles (OHV). With so many trails and fun areas to explore, ATVs and other OHVs can be a lot of fun to ride during the summer. Making sure to wear a helmet and other safety gear (like gloves, boots, pants and long sleeved shirt) is important to make sure you stay safe on the trails.
For more summer safety and health related tips visit the Utah Department of Health website at www.health.utah.gov.