YOU Magazine - June 2010 - Keeping Your Children Safe Tips for Summer Safety
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James Sahnger     James Sahnger
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C2 Financial Corporation NMLS #135622
June 2010

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Keeping Your Children Safe
Tips for Summer Safety

Keeping Your Children Safe - Tips for Summer Safety

In February of this year, we published an article on keeping your children safe from household poisons. With summer right around the corner, we thought it would be prudent to revisit the theme of safety with a few seasonal reminders.

Pool Safety
Once the weather warms, many folks head for the swimming pool or beach. The unfortunate truth is these excursions pose the potential danger of accidental drowning. Before you dismiss this claim, you need to know that two thirds of childhood drowning occurs between the months of May and August, making it the greatest summertime risk.

In an article on pool safety published in June of 2007, we told the story of a YOU Magazine contributing editor who nearly lost his 13-month old son to a near-drowning that occurred at his home pool. Here is a list of pool safety tips from that article:

  • Install a self-closing pool gate. This is first and foremost for any pool owner. It can act as a final barrier between a little one who gets out of the house and your pool. Considering its modest price, this may be the single best investment a family with a pool can make. A rigid pool cover is also a great tool, but they should always be used in conjunction with the self-closing gate.

  • Prepare yourself for emergencies by having every family member who's reached the appropriate age certified in CPR.

  • Keep a phone by the pool in case someone needs to call 911. This will save a lot of time during a worst-case scenario.

  • Clear the pool and surrounding area of any toys that may attract toddlers. Be sure to include pool cleaners that look like toys on your list.

  • Equip your home's back door and pool gate with a buzzer that sounds when opened. You can also buy alarms that float in the pool and sound any time the water is disturbed.

  • Be extremely wary of any plastic or inflatable pools as well. These, for the most part, are un-gated and carry a huge risk. The tendency is to fill them up and keep them filled. It is assumed that if children can stand up in the water, they'll be okay. This doesn't take into account what may happen if a child panics. It is advised to drain these types of pools after every use. It only takes several inches of water for a child to drown.

Accidental Poisoning
Considering that children are out of school, and 89% of all accidental poisonings occur in the home, summertime can be a dangerous time of year. We invite you revisit our article from this past February for our list of poison prevention tips.

There are two steps we highly urge you to take. The first is to keep the number for the National Poison Control Helpline (1-800-222-1222) either on or near EVERY phone in your home. The second is to visit their website,, for a complete source of information on the subject of poisoning.

Bike Safety
Summer is a time when children do a lot of bike riding. Here are a few tips that will help keep your children safe:

  • Insist that your children, no matter their age, wear a helmet. Equally as important is that they wear it correctly. The helmet should fit low and snugly on their head, and should have a safety sticker from the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials).
  • Children under the age of 10 should never ride their bikes on the street. Older kids should ride in safe areas such as bike lanes and should be made to learn the rules of the road.
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission, non-traffic back-over accidents are responsible for over 200 deaths and 14,000 injuries every year.  A large portion of these accidents involve children and occur in either driveways or parking lots. As parents and motorists, it is our job to take extra care when we back up our vehicles. This is especially true if you drive an SUV or minivan, two types of vehicles known for blind spots.

There are certain precautions that can be taken when backing out your vehicle. First, if children commonly play in your driveway, get into the practice of parking in the portion of the driveway closest to the street. Before entering your vehicle, it is advised that you walk completely around it, inspecting the surroundings. Lastly, roll down your windows and turn down your stereo in order to hear what's happening outside the vehicle.

Playground Safety
Summer is the perfect time for kids to hit the playground. While playgrounds serve as a great source of entertainment and exercise for your children, they do pose several risks. The following are some of those risks, as well as our suggestions for how to handle them.

Dangerous equipment
Many playgrounds have outdated equipment, so it is highly important that you inspect the area before allowing your children to play. Start by looking at the ground surface underneath the playground. Ideally there should be a generous amount of wood chips, mulch, or rubber. If the surface is sand, be sure you inspect it for rocks, glass and other sharp objects.

Inspect the equipment itself for dangerous protrusions such as screws, bolts, pipe ends or sharp edges. Look to see what materials were used to construct the playground, as anything metal can get very hot in the summer sun.

Make sure you understand your children's capabilities before allowing them to use equipment such as swings, merry-go-rounds, teeter-totters and suspension bridges. These features not only pose a threat for a fall, but also for pinching or crushing fingers and other body parts.

If your children are at an age where they need supervision, it is important that you or a capable guardian provide it. With the growing popularity of cell phones, playgrounds have become a place where many parents catch up on phone calls, texts and emails. For obvious reasons this is not a very good idea. As the saying goes, it only takes a split second for something to happen.

If your children are old enough to visit the playground without you, we suggest that you implement the buddy system. In other words, insist they go with a friend or friends. There is safety in numbers.

The Sun
We've already talked about the sun's effect on equipment made of metal. It's important not to forget the effects the sun can also have on your children. Sunscreen is a must for any child who visits the playground. Make sure that it is “sweat-proof” and is at least 30 SPF.

In addition to sunburns, heat stroke is also an issue. No matter their age, make sure your children have access to water, and insist they take a 5-minute water break in the shade every hour. This, by the way, is also a good time to reapply sunscreen.

Lastly, it is imperative that your children wear closed-toe tennis shoes while playing on the equipment. Going barefoot or wearing flip-flops is a recipe for injuries like burns and cuts.

We hope this article has shed a little light on a fun, but potentially dangerous time of year. From us to you – be safe, be smart and enjoy your summer!

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