Keep Kids Safe This Summer

School is out for summer! Time to put away the pencils and books and enjoy the fun! Summer is a great time to get children outside and enjoy their academic break, yet parents must be careful of the potential hazards that summer fun can bring. Here are 5 safety concerns to discuss with your children this summer! 

1. Water Safety
With summer fun comes recreational water fun, and a spike in 911 calls for drownings and near-drownings. Stay safe and choose a pool or beach staffed with lifeguards. Children in the water should always be visible to a responsible supervising adult, and if no lifeguard is available, stay close and be ready to jump in. While vacationing on a beach, test out the waters yourself and determine if the under current is too rough for your little one. Many beach drownings occur when the under current drags a swimmer off their feet and into deeper waters. If your child cannot swim, he or she should be wearing a flotation device at all times and you should be within arm's reach! 

2. Burns
Melanoma rates are on the rise in teens, and it's up to parents to educate them on the hazards of tanning (both indoor and outdoor). Young children are naive to the effects of a hot summer sun and need good parents to provide good sunscreen. When spending a full day outside, remember to reapply reapply and reapply! Be sure to include more obscure spots, like the back of the neck, behind ears, and the tops of feet! Find an SPF of at least 30, and opt for a lotion rather than a spray, which can contain irritating chemicals in the propellant. Additionally, no summer is complete without barbecues, camp fires, or fireworks! As any parent would know, burn injuries are quite painful and some can be fatal. Always review fire safety with your children and be sure an adult is always supervising when there is an open fire. Don't let a fun night of (legal) fireworks get spoiled by a trip to the emergency room and keep your children at a safe distance. 

3. Summer fun injuries
Trauma (or unintended injury) is still the leading cause of death in U.S. children age 1 to 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics. During summer months, children will be spending more time outside exposed to potential accidents. Injuries include more common accidents like being struck by a car, falling off a bike or scooter, and recreational vehicle injuries (motor bikes, four-wheelers, boating accidents, etc.). Prepare your child by talking about traffic safety, keeping a helmet on while biking, and always following safety precautions when using recreational vehicles. 

4. Ingestions and food poisoning
There are a few chemicals that are closely associated with summer season, such as sunscreen, lighter fluid, insect repellent, and some pesticides. Ingestion of these can be fatal. Be sure they are properly labeled and kept away from young children. For older children, teach them about these chemicals and show how they are used properly. More commonly, however, is the ingestion of ill-prepared and improperly stored foods. Check out the CDC's food safety page for specific details on food-borne illness and how to prevent them! http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/index.html

5.  Medication
When traveling for the summer, be sure to add prescription and non-prescription medications to your "to pack" list. Always check to be sure you have enough to last through the trip, and call your doctor or your child's pediatrician for an additional prescription if needed. When traveling overseas, its best to be proactive in getting prescriptions needed as many may not be available at your destination. 

Stay safe!