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Nothing ruins summer fun like an emergency

Here are a few summer safety tips to pack with you this summer

Summer is here and it can be a time full of fun — catching fireflies, swimming, going to camp, eating popsicles and watching fireworks are just some of the endless summer activities.
But in the middle of all that fun, it’s important to remember summer safety protocols. Summer may also be a time full of short tempers, overheating and too many activities to juggle between work and kids at home, and in the middle of the chaos it can be easy to forget anything, much less car seat regulations and swimming rules.

Water safety reminders

water safetyIf your family is going to participate in water activities, it's critical parents and caregivers understand the risk. Drowning is silent. Caregivers have to stay alert with constant, active supervision. Never leave children alone around water. This includes tubs, hot tubs, pools, wading pools, drainage ditches, creeks, ponds or lakes.
The Texas Health and Human Services recommends the following guidelines:

  1. Constantly watch children who are playing in shallow water or swimming. 
  2. Prohibit children’s direct access to swimming pools. Use fences, self-closing and latching gates. Ensure children cannot leave the house through pet doors or unlocked doors to access pools or hot tubs.
  3. Store water toys away from the water source when not in use so they don’t attract children.
  4. Make sure you have enough caregivers for children in the group. The younger the children, the more caregivers needed.
  5. Plan for emergencies. Keep emergency telephone numbers handy and stay current in CPR and first aid training.
  6. Weak and non-swimmers should wear only United States Coast Guard-approved life jackets/personal flotation devices (PFD).
  7. Take Free Water Safety Training offered by Colin’s Hope or a Water Safety course by the American Red Cross. 

Hitting the road this summer? Transportation safety is key

Car seat regulations can often vary from state to state. It can be difficult to keep up with the ever-changing rules, but making yourself aware of the current recommendations can be crucial for your child.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:

  1. Rear-facing car safety seats as long as possible; typically until 2 years or older
  2. A forward-facing car safety seat from age 2 to a minimum of 4 years of age
  3. A belt-positioning booster seat a minimum of 4 years of age to at least 8 years of age
  4. A lap and shoulder seat belt for all who have outgrown booster seats 

Other safety recommendations include:

  1. Never leave children unattended in the vehicle
  2. Keep car keys out of children’s reach
  3. Always lock car doors and trunks, even in the garage or driveway
  4. Use reminders that a child is in the back. Leave something you need in the back seat, such as your purse or phone, or leave a stuffed animal or toy in the front seat
  5. Talk to children about the dangers of playing around cars and watch them closely when cars are present

It's probably hot where you are. How can you keep you and your kids safe?

preventing heatstrokeChildren are more vulnerable to heatstroke than adults and the heat inside a stroller, car seat and car can be several degrees hotter than the actual outside temperature.

A heatstroke begins when the core body temperature reaches about 104 degrees. A child can die when that temperature reaches 107. A child’s temperature can rise three to five times faster than an adult, which makes it even more crucial to stay aware.
In 2023, 29 children died of heatstroke in vehicles, and in 2018 and 2019, there was a record number of hot car deaths —  53 children died each year — the most in at least 25 years.
You can prevent heatstroke by following these tips from the United States Department of Transportation:

  1. Never leave a child in a vehicle unattended for any length of time. Rolling windows down or parking in the shade does little to change the interior temperature of the vehicle.
  2. Make it a habit to check your entire vehicle — especially the back seat — before locking the doors and walking away.
  3. Ask your child care provider to call if your child doesn’t show up for care as expected.
  4. Place a personal item like a purse or briefcase in the back seat, as another reminder to look before you lock. Write a note or place a stuffed animal in the passenger's seat to remind youthat a child is in the back seat.
  5. Store car keys out of a child's reach and teach children that around or near a vehicle is not a play area.

If you ever see a child locked in a car alone, act immediately and call 911. You may need to break the window. A child in distress due to heat needs to be removed quickly and rapidly cooled.

Hit the trails and enjoy nature safely

Lastly, it’s important to remember what to do if you encounter some not-so-fun aspects of nature. If you are allergic to poison ivy or poison oak, touching it can cause blisters or irritation on your skin. Remember the phrase, “leaves of three, let it be."
If a poisonous snake bites you or someone you know, immediately call Poison Control at 1-800-222-2222 or 911.
While most spider bites do not cause harm, some are venomous and can cause people to become ill. Beware of female black widow and brown recluse bites. If you suspect you’ve been bitten by a poisonous spider, call 911 or get to an emergency room.

While there's plenty of fun to be had over the summer, nothing stops the fun faster than an emergency. Stay alert and keep your cool – and enjoy these summer days with your family!

Find more parenting tips for the summer here.

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