Summer is here and kids are looking for things to do. It’s a time for fun, but it can be the most dangerous three months of the year. The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) and Safe Kids Utah want parents and caregivers to be vigilant in keeping their children safe while having fun.
“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,” said Safe Kids Utah coordinator, Cambree Applegate in a release. “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.”
Here are 10 tips for keeping children safe in the summer:
• Use the Water Watcher strategy. A common drowning scenario involves under-supervised children who wander off during a family event. There may be several adults present, but no one is specifically designated to watch the children. That opens the door to a child falling into a river or pool. The Water Watcher strategy designates an adult to be in charge of watching the children for a certain amount of time (perhaps 15 minute intervals). That adult is given the Water Watcher card and is responsible to look out for anyone in the water.
• Educate your children about swimming safety. Enroll your children in swimming lessons when they are ready. Teach them to always swim with an adult. Even older, experienced swimmers should swim with a partner.
• Learn CPR. As a parent, you will have peace of mind if you know how to perform infant or child CPR.
• Use appropriate car seats and buckle up every ride. Check to see if your children are all in the appropriate car seat or booster and remind all riders to buckle up.
• Wear life jackets. Anyone who is on a boat, near open bodies of water, or participating in water sports should be wearing a life jacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.
• Drink water during sports. Always drink plenty of water during games, practices and play. It is especially important during the summer months to avoid dehydration.
• Set up your grill with safety in mind. Position your grill away from deck railings, siding and overhanging branches. Keep it a safe distance from foot traffic and play areas. Use long-handled grilling tools and remove grease or fat buildup in trays.
• Never leave your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. Although it is tempting to leave a child alone in a car for a short time, it can cause death very quickly on a hot day. Just remember ACT – Avoid heatstroke, Create reminders, and Take action if you see a child left alone.
• Wear a helmet for biking and other wheeled sports. The most effective device to reduce head injury and death from a bike crash is a helmet. Have your children wear a helmet when skating, biking, riding a scooter or skateboarding.
• Wear a helmet and other appropriate safety gear while riding Off Highway Vehicles (OHV). Riding ATVs and other OHVs can be a fun way to explore Utah trails, but wearing safety gear is imperative to prevent serious injury.
Keep summer fun and safe. For more information on kids’ safety visit safetkids.org or safekidsutah.org.