Summer Safety for Kids

School is out and summer is here! Getting kids outdoors and active during summer months is important — but making sure they are safe is equally as important.

It is imperative kids wear helmets when they bike, skateboard, scooter, or rollerblade! Watch this brief video about how to know if a helmet fits properly.

Protecting your children from harsh sun and sunburns is also important to remember during the summer. One of the best tools to protect your kids is sunscreen, as well as hats and sunglasses.

Photo of a woman putting sunscreen to her young daughter.

Sunscreen

Put on broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 before you go outside, even on slightly cloudy or cool days. Don’t forget to put a thick layer on all parts of exposed skin. Get help for hard-to-reach places like your back. And remember, sunscreen works best when combined with other options to prevent UV damage.

How sunscreen works. Most sunscreen products work by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering sunlight. They contain chemicals that interact with the skin to protect it from UV rays. All products do not have the same ingredients; if your skin reacts badly to one product, try another one or call a doctor.

SPF. Sunscreens are assigned a sun protection factor (SPF) number that rates their effectiveness in blocking UV rays. Higher numbers indicate more protection. You should use a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15.

Reapplication. Sunscreen wears off. Put it on again if you stay out in the sun for more than two hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.

Expiration date. Check the sunscreen’s expiration date. Sunscreen without an expiration date has a shelf life of no more than three years, but its shelf life is shorter if it has been exposed to high temperatures.

Hat

For the most protection, wear a hat with a brim all the way around that shades your face, ears, and the back of your neck. A tightly woven fabric, such as canvas, works best to protect your skin from UV rays. Avoid straw hats with holes that let sunlight through. A darker hat may offer more UV protection.

If you wear a baseball cap, you should also protect your ears and the back of your neck by wearing clothing that covers those areas, using a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15, or by staying in the shade.

Sunglasses

Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure.

Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection. Most sunglasses sold in the United States, regardless of cost, meet this standard. Wrap-around sunglasses work best because they block UV rays from sneaking in from the side.

Swimming Pool Safety

​What is the best way to keep my child safe around swimming pools?

An adult should actively watch children at all times while they are in a pool. For infants and toddlers, an adult should be in the water and within arm’s reach, providing “touch supervision.”  For older children, an adult should be paying constant attention and free from distractions, like talking on the phone, socializing, tending household chores, or drinking alcohol. The supervising adult must know how to swim.

Pool Rules

If you have a pool, insist that the following rules are followed:

  • Keep toys away from the pool when the pool is not in use.
  • Empty blow-up pools after each use.
  • No tricycles or other riding toys at poolside.
  • No electrical appliances near the pool.
  • No diving in a pool that is not deep enough.
  • No running on the pool deck.

Pool Fences

Children can climb out a window, through a doggy door, or sneak out a door to get to the back yard and the pool. To prevent small children from entering the pool area on their own, there should be a fence that completely surrounds the pool or spa. Combined with the watchful eyes of an adult, a fence is the best way to protect your child and other children who may visit or live nearby.

Pool fences should also:

  • Be climb-resistant and should not have anything alongside it (such as lawn furniture) that can be used to climb it.
  • Be at least 4 feet high and have no footholds or handholds that could help a child climb it.
  • Have no more than 4 inches between vertical slats. Chain-link fences are very easy to climb and are not recommended as pool fences. If they must be used, the diamond shape should not be bigger than 1¾ inches.
  • Have a gate that is well maintained and is self-closing and self-latching. It should only open away from the pool. The latches should be higher than a child can reach – 54 inches from the bottom of the gate.
  • For above-ground pools always keep children away from steps or ladders. When the pool is not in use, lock or remove the ladders to prevent access by children.

 

Sources: www.cdc.gov, www.healthychildren.org