Well we are truly embarked on summer! The kids are out of school, the lawn is growing fast and the weeds are growing faster, LOL!
Whether your kids are home all day or in a summer day camp program, it’s important to be aware of summer safety concerns.
There are two major categories of summer safety issues, those that arise at home, and those that happen when you’re out and about. Today I’d like to focus on safety concerns at home.
OK, this isn’t really a safety concern but it DEFINITELY needs to be mentioned.
Where are your kids when they’re at home during the summer? Are they outside playing, or inside playing video and computer games? Hopefully they are NOT plugged in to electronics all day long! Kids need fresh air and physical activity. They also need to practice social skills and engage in imaginative play.
Before you start the summer (or ASAP, since the summer’s already underway) you should set some ground rules for how much computer and video game time your kids will have. The general rule is no more than two hours per day of combined screen time (TV, video game and computer) for children.
Also be aware that electronic devices can make it hard for kids to settle down before bedtime, so they should be powered down about an hour before bedtime every night.
When your kids are outside in the summertime they should have sunscreen applied. There are some concerns lately about topical sunscreens being an endocrine disruptor, but the evidence is not clear. It is well known that sun exposure increases the risk of skin cancer, and the majority of the damage that leads to skin cancer occurs before age 18. All it takes is one bad sunburn to increase the risk!
Even waterproof sunscreen eventually gets washed away by swimming and sweating. Sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before going out in the sun, and reapplied liberally and often. Hats also can be worn to protect the face and neck, and sunglasses are a good idea too.
Anybody who has a swimming pool in their backyard knows that safety is super-important. Small children can drown in as little as 2 inches of water. Little ones should NEVER be left alone around water. Almost 1000 children die every year in the US by drowning, and most drownings occur in backyard pools.
Get your kids involved in a learn-to-swim program as soon as practical, especially if they really like the water. My kids were enrolled in swimming lessons in self-defense! They were so fearless around water that I was twice as worried as I would have been if they were nervous about it!
Have you checked out your swingset lately? Make sure the metal pieces are in good order and free of rust and sharp edges. Repair or replace any wooden bits that are splintery or rotten. Put down a new layer of mulch or reseed any areas of grass that are worn.
Make sure your kids know what to look for so they stay away from poison ivy. I see lots of folks in the office who got into the poison ivy while taking out bushes or weeding in their own backyard. For reference, here’s what it looks like:
I’m not going to get into the politics of guns in the home. It is our right as law-abiding American citizens to own firearms. If you choose to own guns though, you have to keep them secure. If you have children in your home, the stakes are considerably higher.
You must have a firearm locker that your children CANNOT access. Your guns should be stored unloaded. It is best to take a firearm safety course before you bring your first weapon home, the courses thoroughly cover safety concerns.
This is, of course, not an exhaustive list of home safety precautions. Next time I’ll go over summer safety concerns when out and about!
QUESTION: Are there any other home safety concerns I should have mentioned?