1. Get your kids into the habit of putting on sunscreen every time they go outside.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, even one blistering sunburn during childhood will double your kids’ chances of developing melanoma, so make sure they put on sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) at least 15 minutes before heading outdoors.
Also, if you’re not comfortable using chemical based sunscreens you can use a natural, mineral based sunscreen. Find a good list of ones for kids here.
2. Encourage your kids to rock a hat and sunglasses.
These will not only protect your kids’ skin from harmful UV rays, but their eyes, too, which is important because kids are more susceptible to retinal damage than adults.
3. Be a stickler about pool safety.
It’s smart to review safety rules (like “no running”) before every swim, especially with younger kids. A great time for this is when sunscreen is being applied.
It’s also important to remember that you’re your kid’s best defense against anything happening in the pool, so always supervise them without distractions, learn CPR for kids if you haven’t already, and acquaint yourself with the dangers of secondary drowning.
4. You can also play a game with pre-K kids that will teach them the importance of not getting into the pool without adult supervision.
All you need is a hula hoop. Learn more here.
5. Install a fence, wall, or gate around your pool.
The Pool Safety campaign emphasizes the importance of installing fences/barriers to limit kids’ access to a pool.
6. Check playground equipment before you let your kids play.
Look for surfaces that are too hot (and might cause burns on bare legs) as well as any worn-out equipment that might be a danger.
7. Make sure your kid has a bicycle helmet that fits and meets safety standards.
You can watch a short video demonstrating how to test if a helmet fits properly here. Also, any helmet you buy should have a sticker on it that says it meets standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
8. Emphasize to your kids the importance of always wearing a helmet with the strap properly fastened.
This boy is like, “No helmet? Ugh. We are breaking up and we are never, ever getting back together.”
9. It’s also important to make sure your kid’s bike fits because ill-fitting bikes are more accident prone.
To test if your kid has outgrown their bike, have them straddle the top bar with both feet flat on the ground. If there’s a 1 to 3-inch gap between the bar and your kid’s bottom, it’s still the correct size.
10. Teach biking safety before you let your kids ride out on the road.
Find three fun activities that teach biking safety here.
11. Pedestrian safety is also incredibly important since kids spend so much time outside in the summer.
According to Safe Kids Worldwide, “Kids cannot judge speed and distance of approaching vehicles until age 10,” so be sure they know these rules, including the one about always asking an adult for help in retrieving toys in the road.
12. Eat picnic food promptly to avoid food poisoning.
Everybody loves a picnic in the summer, but food that contains mayonnaise, milk, eggs, meat, poultry or seafood shouldn’t be eaten if they’ve been kept at room temperature for more than an hour or two. If you’re picnicking outside in the heat, you should eat them even quicker.
13. Fruits and veggies can cause food poisoning, too, if they’re not properly washed and stored.
So wash your fruit and store it out of direct sunlight. Also, tossing fruit and veggies into a cooler if you plan to eat them later is a good idea.
14. Declare a “kid free zone” around the grill.
Obviously, your kids will always respect the kid free zone (lol), but just in case, you should also teach them that a grill stays hot long after it’s no longer in use.
15. Your kids should also know to stay away when you’re mowing the lawn.
Kids will ask to push or ride the lawnmower, but don’t let them. Don’t think it’s a big deal? Read these scary facts.
16. Put together a summer first aid kit and keep it handy.
Mishaps are just as likely to happen when away from the home (at a park or elsewhere) during the summer, so make a habit of bringing your kit with you. Alternatively, you can make a second kit and leave it in the car.
17. Take precautions against heat stroke.
According to Safe Kids Worldwide, kids’ bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s, so make your kids take regular breaks from playing outside to rest and rehydrate.
18. Never leave your kids alone in the car, not even to run a quick errand.
Even with windows rolled down a little the temperature inside a car can quickly rise above 120 to 140 degrees in the summer.
19. Teach younger kids an address and phone number song.
Summer often means taking your kids into large crowds, so you’ll want them to know their address and phone number should they somehow get lost.
20. You can also write your cell phone number on your kid’s arm and keep it from washing off with liquid bandage.
This will make it easier for whoever finds your kid to get in contact with you. You can also make a safety necklace for your kid to wear.
21. Use a kid-safe insect repellent.
Most insect repellents are made with DEET, a chemical that has been tested and approved as safe for kids, but one you should take precautions when using. Alternatively, you can use a kid-safe repellent like the ones found here.
22. Be vigilant when it comes to ticks.
Ticks are most active in the summer, so you should check your kids every day for them because if a tick is found within 24-36 hours the chances of it transmitting Lyme Disease are low. Learn how to remove one of these buggers here.
It’s also a good idea to dress your kids in lighter colored clothes, which make it a lot easier to spot ticks.
23. Never let your kids play with fireworks.
Fireworks are a big part of 4th of July celebrations, but Kids Health warns that they’re just too dangerous for kids and can cause serious burns and eye injuries. Instead, let kids celebrate with things like silly string, confetti, and noise makers.