It’s finally here…the end of the school year! The summer provides many opportunities to go outside and be active in the sunshine. However, be sure to keep in mind these simple safety guidelines which can help ensure that children spend more time visiting the local park rather than the local emergency room.
Keep It Covered
In short doses, it’s great for kids to play outside and be exposed to sunshine in the summer. However, if your student plans on spending any great length of time outdoors, make sure that they are correctly protected from the sun’s harmful rays. Remember these two tips:
- Wear sunscreen always. Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highly recommend wearing sunscreen with a broad-spectrum protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays) of SPF 15 or higher and is water resistant.
- Wear protective light-weight clothing and seek shade when exposed to the sun. Did you know the sun’s rays are strongest between 10am and 2pm? Here’s a good tip: If your shadow is shorter than you, seek shade.
Swimming can be a great way to get exercise and cool down on a hot summer’s day. If you or your child intends to swim, pool safety is a must. Before you take your student to swim, it’s important to know your child’s limits. Follow these three simple steps before hopping in the pool:
- First, if your child is not a strong swimmer, be vigilant of the depth of the pool or body of water that you will be swimming in. Be cautious of pools that have a shallow end and a deep end as a child can easily make his or her way to the deep end without realizing it. A simple standing test can be done to set the standard for preliminary safety. If you cannot stand straight up in the water, or if the water is above your shoulders when you stand, it may be too deep for the child.
- Second, when you first get to your swimming location, check for a lifeguard on duty. If there is no lifeguard, a “No Lifeguard on Duty” sign should be posted. This is an indication that you need to be extra cautious while your child swims and plays.
- Third, make sure your child takes regular breaks to avoid getting exhausted from all the fun they’ll be having.
Leave Fireworks to the Pros
Summer wouldn’t be complete without firework displays. But, to avoid a potential life-threatening injury, it’s best to leave the fireworks to the professionals.
According to insurance reports in 2017, at least eight people lost their lives in fireworks mishaps while 12,900 ended up in hospital emergency rooms with injuries. Sadly, many of the mishaps occurred from simply being too close to the fireworks. Professional pyrotechnic engineers study and practice year-long to put on safe enjoyable shows. It’s best just to let them work their magic while you enjoy from afar.
As we kick off summer 2019, let’s remember that summer safety is a major part of what makes summer fun!
Cynthia O’Brien is a 5thGrade Math/Science teacher from Maywood, Illinois and 2018-2019 School Ambassador Fellow with the US Department of Education.