June is National Safety Month and, with the onset of summer, what better time for tips to help children stay safe and healthy.
Slips, trips, and falls
- Develop an action plan for injury prevention: According to the CDC each day about 8,000 children up to the age of 19—almost 2.8 million children each year—are treated in U.S. emergency rooms for fall-related injuries. Be mindful of where children play and help prevent unnecessary falls. Check out the CDC’s Injury Prevention and Control website, and see if a plan can be tailored to your specific needs and situations.
- Help children be safe on the playground: With the summer months can come an increased use of playgrounds. Check out the local playground—or backyard playground equipment—to ensure that it is safe for play.
- Promote an understanding of the need for sports safety. The CDC advises that children wear protective gear during sports and recreation. Remind children that no one wants to intentionally get hurt and wearing proper protective gear can decrease the risk of injury.
Know the surroundings
- Ensure children know their address and their way home: With summer can come an increased number of activities, including going to different events and locations. If children go to the park, the community center, the local pool, or their friends’ homes, for example, make sure they know their way in both directions.
- Make sure children know 9-1-1: Even in familiar surroundings an emergency can arise. Let children know what situations warrant 911 calls. Practice with younger children on learning the numbers buttons on a landline and cell phone, and what they need to do differently on the cell than home phone.
Medicines and potential food allergens
- Help children realize the need for medicine safety: Although one can have a more relaxed schedule in the summer, remember to remain vigilant in ensuring children know about medicines and safety. Help children understand why they should only take medicine intended for them, with differences in age and weight between kids and grown-ups, for example, being one of numerous factors.
- Remind older children of the dangers of drug misuse: The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports a softening of attitudes among 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-graders regarding perceived harm of non-medical use of prescription medications. Reading online about how misuse of prescription drugs can affect the brains of teens and providing students with the facts about drugs may help older children understand the biopsychological underpinnings for refraining from prescription drug misuse.
- Be aware of food allergens: Let children know that, while summer may offer more time to try new things, including new foods, they should check with an adult first because some foods may cause an allergic response in certain children. Problem foods for children can include eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and gluten. The allergic reaction may be mild. In rare cases it can cause a severe reaction called anaphylaxis.
Sun and water safety
- Provide protection from the sun: Make sure children are equipped with sun screen, hat, sunglasses and clothing that provide adequate protection against the harmful effects of the sun.
- Make sure children drink lots of water. Water is necessary to keep hydrated.
- Reinforce water safety: Introduce the process of learning to swim. Consider signing children up for swimming lessons, and let them know about various aspects of water safety.
One more tip for summer: Keep reading and avoid the summer slide! These are just a few ideas to help children have a fun-filled summer, and be safe all year- round.