With the warmth of the sun, the gentle breezes, and the beauty of nature in full bloom, summer is the perfect season to enjoy God's creation. However, before you send your homeschool family outside, you should be sure they are safe from danger. After all, according to the 2007 Safe Kids U.S. Summer Safety Ranking Report, "Unintentional injury remains the number one killer of children in the United States, with more than 2,000 children dying each summer from injuries that could have been prevented."
Whether you're visiting the swimming pool, playing baseball, or riding your bikes this summer, the keys to safety are proper supervision and education. For starters, teach your children in grades K-8 about personal health and first aid with Horizons Health from Alpha Omega Publications®.
Yet, teaching cannot stop in curriculum lessons. Safety must be practiced daily. So, to help your family avoid injury, or worse, a trip to the emergency room this summer, here are some common sense safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
1. Always apply sunscreen, even if it's cloudy. Use the highest sun protection factor (SPF) you can find, and remember to reapply frequently, especially after swimming or activities that involve sweating. Also, don't forget to cover every skin area. If skin reactions are a concern, research sunscreens and try sensitive skin varieties.
2. Stay covered. Use sunglasses with the correct prescription and ensure your child's sunglasses block ultraviolet light. Wear wide-brimmed hats, as well as lightweight and lightly colored clothes that absorb sweat and allow the skin to breathe.
3. Drink water. Prevent dehydration by drinking before and after all physical events. In addition, children should drink every 15 to 30 minutes during a physical activity, even if they don't feel thirsty. Heat and humidity can increase the risk of dehydration, so pay attention to the weather when planning events and consider shortening events if the weather is too hot.
4. Install barriers. Ensure children have boundaries around pools and water areas, such as a fence, wall, or gate. Even if you have an inflatable backyard pool, make sure children cannot gain unsupervised access.
5. Teach your children how to swim. Enroll them in swimming lessons and frequently practice techniques like floating, breathing, and proper diving. Remember, the ability to swim does not guarantee a child won't drown.
6. If your pool or spa has suction devices, avoid entrapment by wearing proper clothes and ensuring areas are properly covered. Most children drown during a brief lapse in supervision, so stay alert at all times.
Biking and Outdoor Sports Safety
7. Make sure your child's bike fits his height. To ensure proper fitting, take your child shopping when you buy a bike. Also, remember to change the bike's settings as he grows.
8. Always use a helmet. Accidents can happen in driveways, as well as on the street. As parents, don't forget to wear your own helmet since children learn best by observing. Make sure helmets meet safety standards and are worn properly.
9. Teach your child traffic safety, such as how to watch for cars, cross streets, stay within sight, and read road signs. In addition, teach proper signals and how to properly judge distance. Accidents often happen when motorists can't see bikers, so be sure to have reflectors installed.
Insect and Animal Safety
10. Stay away from areas that attract insects, such as overhangs, gardens, and water. In addition, don't wear scents or perfumes that could attract insects and avoid dressing in bright colors and floral patterns. Also, use insect repellent according to the directions.
11. Use proper medication on bug bites. Have a first aid book on hand to research and properly diagnose bites and don't be afraid to call a doctor if you are uncertain.
12. Stay alert when walking through tall grass or forested areas. Teach your child how to scan ahead several feet in front of him to spot potential dangers like snakes.
13. Use age-appropriate swings that are made of soft material. Beware of attaching ropes to equipment as these can cause choking.
14. Check the playground equipment's temperature. Metal and plastic slides often get hot and can easily cause burns.
15. Make sure the surface area around playgrounds is made of flexible materials like woodchips or sand and not concrete. Also, never let children play barefoot on the playground.
Have your own safety tip to share? Add it in the comment field below to help everyone have a safe summer of fun!