School is out for summer! What that means for kids is that it’s time for summer fun, staying up late, and no more homework. What that means for the adults is that it’s time to do a summer safety check. After all, the kids will be around the house more and will be engaging in activities they haven’t been since last summer. Taking a few minutes now to make sure your home is safe can do a lot to help protect your children.
With the kick-off of summer it’s a good idea to do a safety check of the whole house, both inside and outside. That way you can start the summer off knowing that common issues have been addressed. Here are a few things to start of with to ensure your home is summer safety ready:
- If you have a swimming pool start there. Kids will be spending a lot of time in the pool over the summer and you want to make sure it is safe. The pool should be completely surrounded by a self-closing, self-latching gate that is at least four feet tall. Also, keep pool toys out of the pool when not in use. Children who see them floating around may be enticed to go in after them.
- Skin safety and skin cancer prevention is important year round, but especially during the summer when children spend a lot of time outdoors. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping babies under 6 months of age out of the direct sunlight. When shade and SPF clothing aren’t available, generously apply broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Reapply at least every 2 hours, and especially after swimming or sweating. Also use sun protective gear like a wide brim hat, sunglasses, SPF clothing and opt for the shade whenever possible.
- Keep kids properly hydrated during the summer. Children need more fluids when playing outdoors in the heat. Offer water prior to going outdoors and take frequent water breaks when outside.
- Teach your children to wear a helmet when they go on their bike, skateboard, or scooters. Head protection is crucial in preventing serious head injuries. Closed toe sneakers are also a good idea when playing outside and riding on wheels to keep little toes and feet safe.
- Children should never be allowed to go near or use lawn mowers. While taking a ride on dad’s lap may seem like a fun idea, too many serious lawn mower injuries occur every year.
- Protect children from mosquito bites by keeping them completely covered with lightweight clothing. Use bug repellent for children over 2 months of age if you will be outside when there are a lot of mosquitoes. The AAP recommends choosing a repellent with no more than 30% DEET. Also, teach children to steer clear of things like red ant hills and bee hives. Their curiosity of those things could lead to them being hurt.
While the above items focus on outdoor summer safety since children will spend a lot of time outside, it is important to also consider inside the home. Take a walk around your home and check to make sure that everything is safe for children. After all, during the summer kids spend more time inside too, whether cooling off from summer heat or playing and finding creative indoor fun.
In the kitchen the cabinets should be locked and knives should be properly stored safely away not within reach of children. In the bathroom it is important to make sure that any cleaning supplies and medications are locked up and out of reach. In other rooms, look for cords and unstable furniture so they can be secured and out of reach, and check to make sure all smoke detectors work and have fresh batteries.
Another area of safety concern is the laundry room. It is a room that is often overlooked, but equally as important. Make sure children do not have access to crawl inside of appliances, or gain access to detergents or other cleaning supplies. Laundry detergent and other laundry products should be stored in the original containers, out of sight and out of a child’s reach. Remember that young children are curious and may be tempted to use chairs and other household objects to climb.
Summer can be a fun time for the whole family. Taking the time now to address potential safety issues will help to provide your family with a safe environment that focuses on providing long-lasting summer fun!
You can find more tips and information on P&G’s Safe Home website.
Disclosure: I am writing on behalf of the P&G Safe Home program.