Whatever you have planned this summer — swim parties, outdoor activities, camping, bicycling, boating — activities can be fun but they all also have some element of risk. But you can take steps to protect your family and especially your children to help them safely enjoy their summer without any pain and suffering.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has the following tips for you:
- When bicycling, everybody in the family should wear a helmet. It doesn’t matter if you are on a public street, a bike path or off-road trail, protecting your head from a fall is the smartest thing you can do to protect against a traumatic brain injury if you crash.
- Also, teach your child to ride on the right side of the road in the same direction as traffic. Teach them to obey all stop signs and traffic lights. They should never ride at night. Your child should ride on the right, facing the same direction as traffic, and should be taught to obey all stop signs and other traffic control devices. Children should never ride at night.
- Do not let anybody younger than 16 use a riding lawnmower and do not allow children to ride as passengers.
- No child under 12 should be allowed to use a walk-behind lawnmower. Anyone mowing the law should wear sturdy shoes and eye protection to reduce the chances of being hit by a flying object and sustaining an injury.
- An adult should always be supervising when the kids are in or near the pool or spa. Supervising means watching the kids; not reading a book, texting or watching videos on the phone. Whoever is watching the kids should not be playing on their phone or reading a book but actually watching the kids. It is the best prevention of drowning in children.
- For small children, especially any child under the five years old, an adult should be within arm’s reach length of the child.
- Do not use a pool with broken or missing drain covers, as the suction can trap a child under water.
- If you are taking a boat excursion, everyone should wear life vests at all times once they are in the boat and on water. Everybody should have life jackets that fit. This is especially important for little children as an ill-fitting life jacket can slip off if the child falls into the water.
- The same rules as driving a vehicle apply when you are driving a boat. Whoever is driving must abstain from alcohol. Additionally, all passengers should be warned of the dangers of using alcohol, drugs and some prescription drugs while on the water. If someone who is under the influence falls into the water, the risk of them drowning increases exponentially.
- During the COVID pandemic, it may not be a good idea to let your children play in a playground, climbing on equipment that countless other kids have climbed on and touched. And with kids regularly touching their faces, which is one of the most likely ways to become infected.
- If they are using a playground, it should have safety-tested mats or loose-fill materials (shredded rubber, sand, wood chips, or bark).
Safety on Skateboards, scooters, in-line skates and Heelys
- If your kids are riding skateboards and scooters or using in-line skates or Heelys they should wear protective gear at all times, particularly a helmet. The helmets should meet ASTM or another certified safety standard.
- For in-line skates and Heelys, besides a helmet, you should also provide them with wrist and knee guards too to protect against the most common injuries from falls on skates. Do not let the children skate or use their Heely’s on the street. Instead, they should only skate on designated paths or rinks.
For more summer safety, contact the risk management specialists at Heffernan Insurance Brokers.