As we are in the midst of summer (and a pandemic and civil unrest) children are going to be spending a lot of time outdoors. This is great for their mental and physical health, of course, but it also means adults may need to spend some time outlining basic safety measures for children to keep in mind. Outdoor safety for kids encompasses a number of areas and activities. Depending on your child’s age and where they are spending the bulk of their outdoor time, some may apply more than others. Nonetheless, here are a few basic outdoor summer safety tips for kids.
Outdoor Playground Safety for Kids
Playground safety is important for kids of all ages. Toddlers and younger children should always be supervised on the playground. Older children should follow some basics to prevent injury. Equipment should be used as intended (no climbing up slides or standing on swings) and avoided if it is wet and slippery.
Bikes, skateboards, balls, backpacks, and other items they may bring to the playground should be stored out of the way so people won’t trip over them. Metal equipment can get hot in the summer. Kids should also be taught to stay aware of other children on the playground when they are running, jumping, and playing on the equipment.
Sun Safety Tips for Children
Learning how to stay safe in the sun while playing outdoors is important for all kids. Even on cloudy days, children can get sunburn if they aren’t properly protected. Apply sunscreen of at least 15 sun protection factor (SPF) to all exposed skin areas. Reapply every two hours.
Encourage kids to wear hats. Wear swimwear or play clothing that has ultraviolet-ray protection woven into the fabric. Dehydration is another concern when kids are playing hard in direct sunlight. They should drink water often and get out of the sun if they feel dizzy, nauseated, or tired.
Emphasize Safe Cycling/Skating Rules to Children
Kids riding their bikes, skates or scooters during the day should wear lightweight, bright-colored shirts to prevent overheating and keep them visible to cars. All bike riders should use a snug-fitting helmet and wear shoes that grip the pedals and protect their feet.
Teach Children About Water Safety in Pools, Lakes, and Oceans
Kids love pools, rivers, lakes, and the ocean, and water safety is key to enjoying all of these outdoor activities (or indoor waterpark activities). Kids should be given swimming lessons when they become interested in water and be aware of their limitations. It’s best for children to swim in areas that have lifeguards. All children should be told never to dive into a body of water if they cannot see the bottom.
Snug-fitting safety vests should be worn on boats. Ocean safety instructions are also important so that kids know how to keep themselves calm and safe if they get caught in a strong current or a riptide.
Outdoor Hiking/Camping Safety for Kids
Teach kids about hiking and camping safety before packing up the tent for a trip into the great outdoors. Young campers should know some basics about map, compass, and GPS use and should be familiar with the hiking area. They should wear loose, layered clothing in case the weather changes suddenly.
Kids on longer hikes or camping trips should have flashlights, water, food, and a fire source. Many summer camps offer programs that teach kids about basic camping safety.
Following these safety guidelines on playgrounds, in the sun or water and hiking, camping or cycling while they play and enjoy the summer will help children get the most out of their outdoor time by keeping them comfortable and healthy.
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