When we think of summer, thoughts of warm days, outdoor adventures, water-filled fun, and endless sunshine come to mind. As wonderful as summer play can be, it is essential for parents to help children enjoy this time of the year safely. The following are summer safety tips that we at STEMful practice to ensure safe outdoor learning for our campers, and that you can practice at home, too!
1. Enjoy The Sun Safely
Fun days spent under the sun are the highlight of the summer months. But along with the many benefits of spending time outdoors, there are serious summer safety considerations to be mindful of as your children and family head outside for some sunshine.
Anytime children are outside, whether the sun is shining or there is cloud cover, they should wear a layer of sunscreen. Apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 and reapply every two hours or after swimming/being in the water or sweating. Keep in mind that peak sunshine hours are 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Take plenty of breaks in the shade and drink plenty of water on hot days, too!
Our STEMful summer camp staff take all necessary steps to ensure our students enjoy their outdoor learning activities safely. Be sure to keep an eye on the weather and properly equip your children with the right clothing and gear.
2. Practice Caution In and Around Water
When pools and splash pads are finally open for children to enjoy, and backyard water toys are brought out, parents must be on top of water safety measures. Drowning can happen quickly in pools, water buckets, and even kiddie pools. Children should never play in or around water without adult supervision.
Always equip children (even good swimmers) with life jackets for swimming in pools, lakes, rivers, or oceans. Make sure an experienced swimmer or lifeguard is nearby, and talk with your children about water safety and steps they can take to stay out of harm’s way. Be honest and factual with children about drowning, how quickly it can happen, and why it is important to always be with an adult when playing in or around water.
3. Wear The Right Gear With Wheels
Bicycles, skateboards, and skates, hurray! Racing around on their favorite set of wheels is an exciting thrill for children. But, before anyone jumps on their boards or bikes, they need to take an important summer safety step and put on the appropriate protective gear. This will help to prevent injury if a fall or crash happens.
Wearing a properly-fitting helmet will protect children’s heads as they whiz around. Elbow pads and knee pads are also a great idea to ensure bumps and scrapes are minor, and children can return to their fun after a tumble.
4. Avoid Common Playground Injuries
Did you know that more than 200,000 ER visits are caused by playground injuries every year? Help keep your children on the playground and out of the doctor’s office by supervising them during play, and picking the appropriate equipment for them to enjoy.
Many playgrounds display recommended age ranges for their different play areas, and the recommendations should be followed. Consider dressing your children for play, as well, skipping accessories or clothing that can easily get caught on playground equipment.
Depending on the day’s temperature and the type of materials the playground equipment is made of; slides, swings, and other surfaces can become incredibly hot on summer days. Feel it with your hand before your children climb on to avoid burns.
And, speaking of heat safety…
5. Protect Children From The Heat
Too much time in the sun without proper breaks, hydration, or attire can be dangerous for anyone. Heatstroke is especially life-threatening for children, as the symptoms they display are typically milder than what you might see in adults and easier to miss. As you are planning for your children’s summer safety, don’t forget to help them manage the effects of summer heat.
Help your children stay safe on warm days with these steps:
- Pay attention to complaints of heat cramps and exhaustion, and help children cool down immediately with water and rest in shaded spaces if those symptoms are observed.
- Take water breaks often and keep cool water available at all times.
- Wear lightweight clothing and hat while outside.
- Try to arrange for play areas where there is shade available for breaks, or better yet, a cool indoor spot.
6. Drink Enough Water
This one isn’t just for the children, parents! Staying hydrated is always important, but it is especially crucial on hot days filled with lots of activity. Children are actually more prone to dehydration than adults, and as their body temperatures rise, health risks increase.
How much water should your children drink on warm summer days? Aim to have them drink half their body weight in ounces of water. We ask parents of STEMful summer campers to bring water bottles so they can easily access water at any time.
Other ways to help children stay hydrated include:
- Infusing water with fruit for a more flavorful beverage
- Limiting children’s access to juice and soda
- Setting a good example for them by drinking plenty of water, yourself!
7. Make Sure Children Travel Safely
Summer is prime time for fun outings with your family! Before you hit the road (or the skies!) on your next exciting adventure, make sure everyone’s car seats or boosters are properly installed and fitted. Check your state’s car seat laws to ensure you are informed about what the safety requirements are where you live and where you are going.
It is also important to never leave children unattended in a vehicle. Sadly, temperatures inside vehicles can rapidly rise and become dangerous for children. Always make sure your children exit the vehicle and are accounted for before you leave your car, and keep empty vehicles locked at all times.
Give Your Children Safe Summer Learning Adventures with STEMful!
STEMful provides a wide variety of exciting summer learning experiences, filled with supervised indoor and outdoor adventures. Our staff make sure young learners are hydrated, cool, and safe! Learn about our summer programs and sessions available for children 3.5-11 by clicking here.