Summer vacation is a great time for kids to enjoy time off from school and the availability of outdoor activities and fun, but it can be a stressful time for parents. As kids have more free time and spend more time outdoors and near water, health and safety risks can increase greatly. According to the National Safe Kids Campaign, each year a startling one in four kids is subject to an injury that requires professional medical attention. Additionally, 42 percent of all deaths that are a result of an injury occur in the summer months, between May and August.
There are tips parents can follow to ensure their kids enjoy not only a fun but also a safe summer vacation this year.
Keep Kids Bite and Sting-Free
Summer is a time when insects, including mosquitos and bees are out in full force. Bee stings can lead to allergic reactions that can potentially be deadly, and mosquitos are transmitting a record number of cases of West Nile Virus. In order to prevent bites and stings, spray children with a DEET-free insect repellant every time they go outdoors, even if it’s only for a short period of time.
Never leave kids unattended near any type of water, even if they are great swimmers. It’s also important that if you have a home pool, it has a fence that’s at least 5 feet high surrounding it, and pool alarms are another beneficial idea for residential pools. This can help prevent accidents for not only your own children, but also neighborhood children.
Remember a Helmet
Always ensure your child wears a helmet when riding bicycles, roller skates, scooters or skateboards. Almost 300,000 kids visit the emergency room each year because of injuries related to riding bikes, and helmets are one of the best ways to prevent a severe or even deadly injury from occurring. Another way to maintain safety when riding a bicycle is to make sure your child’s bike is a good fit for their size. Bikes that are too large or small contribute to a large number of accidents. In order to check, a child should straddle the bike with his or her feet placed flat on the ground. When doing so, there should be a 1-3 inch gap between the top bar of the bike and the child.
Summer is a great time to enjoy picnics, barbecues and parties, but with these events come the risk for food contamination. There are a number of food-borne sicknesses that can be particularly difficult when they affect children. These include salmonella and viruses and sicknesses caused by bacteria such as E.Coli. When preparing foods for summer activities, don’t let them stay at room temperature for more than an hour. All raw meat should be cooked thoroughly, and shouldn’t be stored with other food items. Fruits and vegetables can also be a source of bacteria, so they should always be washed and properly refrigerated.