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Make Summer Safe for Kids

children playing on a swing

Make this year's summer break memorable by having fun and helping yourself, your friends, and others stay safe and healthy.

Keep your kids safe and healthy while they enjoy summer fun.

Warm weather brings more opportunity for outdoor activities like swimming, fishing, biking, and hiking. Summer’s a great time for kids to relax, unwind, and have fun. Whether they are young children or teens, help them stay safe and healthy this summer.

Master water safety

Swimming and other water-related activities are excellent ways to get the physical activity and health benefits needed for a healthy life. Here are some ways to stay safe while having fun.

Practice healthy, safe swimming

Swimming is one of the most popular recreational activities in the United States and the most popular recreational activity for children and teens (ages 7–17). Swimming has many health benefits.

  • Learn how to prevent recreational water illnesses and help protect yourself and your kids from these germs. For example:
    • Keep the poop, germs, and pee out of the water.
    • Take young children on bathroom breaks every 60 minutes or check diapers every 30–60 minutes.
    • Don't swallow the water you swim in.
  • Help kids get H2O Smartz about water safety.

Prevent drowning

Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children ages 1-4 than any other cause except birth defects. Two to three children die every day as a result of drowning. Stay safe:

  • Always supervise children when in or around water. Designate a responsible adult to constantly watch young children.
  • Teach kids to swim. Formal swimming lessons can protect young children from drowning.
  • Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Your CPR skills could save someone’s life.
  • Install a four-sided fence around home pools. Use self-closing and self-latching gates that open outward with latches that are out of reach of children.

Ensure boating safety

Recreational boating can be a wonderful way to spend time with family and friends. Keep boating fun by making safety a priority. Consider that of the people who died in boating incidents in 2009, more than 7 out of 10 (73%) drowned. More than 90 percent of the people who drowned were not wearing a life jacket.

  • Wear a life jacket every time you and your loved ones are on the water. It can greatly decrease your chances of drowning while boating.
  • Properly fitted life jackets can prevent drowning and should be worn at all times by everyone on any boat.

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Beat the heat

People suffer heat-related illness when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded. Those at greatest risk for heat-related illness include infants and children up to 4 years of age. Check regularly on them. For heat-related illness, the best defense is prevention.

Stay cool

Even young and healthy people can get sick from the heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather.

  • Never leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.
  • Dress infants and children in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
    • Schedule outdoor activities carefully, for morning and evening hours.
    • Stay cool with cool showers or baths.
    • Seek medical care immediately if your child has symptoms of heat-related illness.

Avoid sunburn

Just a few serious sunburns can increase your and your child's risk of skin cancer later in life. Kids don't have to be at the pool, beach, or on vacation to get too much sun. Their skin needs protection from the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays whenever they're outdoors.

  • Cover up. Clothing that covers your and your child's skin helps protect against UV rays.
  • Use sunscreen with at least SPF (sun protection factor) 15 and UVA (ultraviolet A) and UVB (ultraviolet B) protection every time you and your child go outside.

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Be safe at home and at play

Injuries at home and at play can be prevented. Practice safety tips to make it a great summer.

Play smart

Each year in the United States, emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries. Falls at home and on the playground are a common cause of injury.

  • Check to make sure that the surfaces under playground equipment are safe, soft, and well- maintained (such as wood chips or sand, not dirt or grass). On public playgrounds, more injuries occur on climbers than on any other equipment. On home playgrounds, swings are responsible for most injuries.
  • Supervise young children at all times around fall hazards, such as stairs and playground equipment, whether you’re at home or out to play.
  • Use stair gates, which can help keep a busy, active child from taking a dangerous tumble.

Prevent concussions

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can occur in any sport or recreation activity. You can’t see a concussion, and some may not experience or report symptoms until hours or days after the injury. Most people with a concussion recover quickly and fully. But for some people, symptoms can last for days, weeks, or longer. In general, recovery may be slower among young children and teens, as well as older adults.

  • Learn concussion signs and symptoms and what to do if a concussion occurs.
  • Make sure kids and teens wear the right protective equipment for their activity. Protective equipment should fit properly and be in good condition.
    • Wearing a helmet is a must to help reduce the risk of a serious brain injury or skull fracture. However, helmets are not designed to prevent concussions. There is no “concussion-proof” helmet. So, even with a helmet, it is important for kids and teens to avoid hits to the head.

Create a healthy home

Parents can take many actions to protect their children's health and safety at home.

  • Stay smart around the house by following tips on fire prevention, microwave use, and living with pets.
  • At a very young age, children develop the habits and behaviors that will influence their lifelong health. Learn healthy home tips for each room in the house.

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Stay safe at work

Young workers have high job injury rates. Hazards in the workplace, inexperience, and lack of safety training may increase injury risks for young workers.

  • Explore resources to help you stay safe and healthy at work.

Stop the violence

Kids can use electronic media to embarrass, harass, or threaten their peers. Increasing numbers of teens and preteens are becoming victims of this new form of violence. Although many different terms—such as cyberbullying, Internet harassment, and Internet bullying—have been used to describe this type of violence, electronic aggression is the term that most accurately captures all types of violence that occur electronically.

As teens develop emotionally, they are heavily influenced by their relationship experiences. Healthy relationship behaviors can have a positive effect on teens’ emotional development.

  • Protect your children from teen dating violence. Nearly one in 10 teens reports having been hit or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend at least once over a year’s time. Dating violence can be prevented when teens, families, organizations, and communities work together.

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