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Review summer safety with kids

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Summer is in full swing and the kids are busy with camps, play dates, swimming and relaxing. During one of the down times, take a few minutes to review some basic safety tips. Parents aren’t always there to keep them fresh in young minds.

Emergency calls: Most kids know to call 911 in an emergency. Many kids do not know what a true emergency is that warrants a phone call. www.911.gov has great information to review with children about what situations are emergencies (car crashes, fires, etc.) and what information emergency responders can benefit from if a call is placed. There are also links for more sites for further information.

Finding home: Teach kids their address and a contact phone number. A parent’s mobile phone number is a great one since the chances are good a parent will always be near their personal phone. Before older kids head off on their bikes or a play date, make sure they can spot familiar landmarks and know the route home. Practice traveling the route to a friend’s or the park or library and the reverse route home. Find a second route in case the primary route is blocked. You may want to accompany them the first few times.

Playground safety: Review safety rules on and around playground equipment. Kids can become very excited around large pieces of equipment. They may forget to look out for younger children in their enthusiasm. Turn taking, helping others and general courtesy apply no matter what the recreational setting is. Running should be restricted to open grassy areas only, never on or near playground equipment. No bullying by older kids should ever be tolerated and parents need to be mindful of this. Better to leave and report incidents than risk a child’s safety.

Food and allergies: Kids hanging out with friends want to fit in, and they can sometimes forget about food allergies. Parents who are unaware of a guest child’s allergies may inadvertently serve food containing an allergic substance. Teach kids to ask about food ingredients before eating anything outside home. If your child will be at a party or friend’s home at a meal or snack time, call the parent ahead of time and explain the food allergy. Send a substitute snack with your child if needed. Familiarize kids with the signs of a food allergy just in case it happens.

Medicines: Kids are often curious about pills in those little bottles. Millions of kids legitimately take prescription medicines daily for a variety of medical needs. While the immediate family is aware of the routine and medicine safety, guests may not be. When kids are visiting, always store medicines locked away and out of sight of all guests. If need be, set an alarm on the phone as a reminder for a child’s medicine time.

As soon as kids are old enough, teach them to begin to manage their own medicines, especially if they are going to be lifelong or long term needs.

Water safety: Teaching kids to swim is very necessary, even if they will never strive to compete in the Olympics. During the summer, many places offer swimming lessons. Carefully research any program before enrolling your children in swimming lessons. Red Cross classes, YMCA, and other main line organizations are usually good choices, but call and always ask about class sizes and adult/child ratios. Locations are important, too. Kids may prefer to learn at a pool or a lake. Practicing swimming in different locations is important, too. Check out these sites for many more safety tips about basic water safety.

Sun: Kids should always use sunblock when outside. From infancy through adulthood, all human skin needs protection from exposure to damaging sun’s rays. Many types and strengths of sun block products have erupted onto the market. Some are specially formulated for sports or water use, others for infants or young children. Read labels and online information to find the best fit for your child’s needs. Remember to reapply as needed.

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