With the weather warming up, and the days getting longer, we are all spending a lot more time outdoors. Activities such as barbecues, swimming, biking, hiking, skateboarding, and jumping on the trampoline are some of our family favorites. This increase in summer fun should also increase our safety awareness.
The first area of concern is protection from the summer sun. Most sun damage occurs as a result of incidental exposure with normal activities, not at the swimming pool or beach. As a result, our children should have sun protection even if they are just playing in the yard. Because harmful rays can penetrate clouds, we should have sun protection even on cloudy days. The American Cancer Society has a catch phrase that will help as your family heads outdoors this summer. “Slip! Slop! Slap!….and Wrap” are 4 key words to protect everyone before going out in the sun. This means to remember the following:
- Slip on a shirt
- Slop on sunscreen
- Slap on a Hat
- Wrap sunglasses to protect your eyes and sensitive skin around them
As a parent, we should be “sun safe” ourselves. We should be good role models by applying sunscreen, wearing sunglasses and limiting our time in the sun. These behaviors not only help reduce your risk of sun damage and disease, but it teaches your kids good sun habits as well.
Trampolines seem like great fun for children and a good form of exercise, but accidents involving trampolines are well known. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents do not purchase a trampoline, or allow a child to use home trampolines. The AAP also recommends that even when supervised, children under the age of 6 should not be allowed to use trampolines. If, however, you permit your children to use trampolines, please follow these guidelines:
- One person at a time on the trampoline.
- Do not attempt or allow somersaults or flips.
- Don’t allow the trampoline to be used without shock-absorbing pads that completely cover the springs, hooks, and frames.
75% of trampoline injuries occur when more than one person is on the trampoline. In addition, falling onto trampoline springs or frames can cause serious injury.
Primary Children’s has a water safety campaign, Water – Danger at Any Depth. In other words, where there is water there’s danger! A small child can drown in as little as an inch of water. Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children in the state of Utah. This does not include the high number of brain injuries water accidents cause every year. One hundred percent supervision of children near water is the key! Home swimming pools are the most common place for children under the age of 5 to drown. Swimming pools, whether in your own back yard, your neighbor’s, or the community pool, can be dangerous. Besides adequate supervision, make sure home pools have self-closing and locking fences. Finally, teach your children to swim as early as possible, but never without supervision.
Helmets have become mandatory around our house. I will confess, however, that this has been a process for my family. People are slow to wear helmet protection because they are hot, unflattering, and they give you “helmet hair.” In addition, they are sometimes hard to put on and fit just right. The safety benefits, however, far outweigh the inconvenience. Whether riding a bike, scooter, or skateboard, a head injury can happen in a flash. One suggestion is to allow your child to pick out his or her helmet and have them wear that helmet on every occasion. This will increase the chances of them putting it on and having it fit properly. Some other tips to consider include making sure the helmet sits level on their head, not tilted backward, and when fastening straps, make sure they fit snugly under the chin.
Hopefully these tips will help you and your family have a fun and SAFE summer when you are playing outside the house.