Tips for Enjoying the
Summer with Your Child
Toronto, July 25, 2007 - On a typical summer day, parents may find themselves participating in more activities with their kids. As the heat draws us outdoors to take trips, explore nature and try to cool off. And, as children head outdoors, many parents sense their children are at greater risk for injuries and worry about their outdoor safety.
"Outside of the home can be a big place for a young child, but it doesn't have to be a dangerous place. There are things that parents can do to prevent accidents. When it comes to any outdoor adventure, parents should make sure that the space they are going into is safe and that their kids understand the safety rules. Also, managing the pace of the day, getting a good night sleep, nutrition and knowing that the space you are in is safe, will help you relax and enjoy the day," says Chaya Kulkarni, child development and parenting expert at Invest in Kids.
"When these basic needs are met, parents are better prepared to keep a watchful eye on what their young child is doing at all times, and the child will have an easier time remembering mom's and dad's rules that will keep them safe. Additionally, by discussing each outdoor activity with your child beforehand, and by giving a friendly reminder when needed, you are teaching your child how to recognize and avoid unsafe situations," says Kulkarni.
Here are Invest in Kids experts' tips to help parents keep their youngsters safer throughout the summer, while sharing memorable outdoor moments together:
Making the Most Out of Outdoor Playtime
* Be sure to pace the daily events. Only take on what you and your child can handle. Doing too much will tire both of you out, and make you grumpy and less focused. If you have more energy in the morning, take on the more intense activities and when the day winds down, read a book, or go for a walk.
* Find the time and space to rest. It's important that you and your child are well-rested to face the day's activities. If there's a busy day ahead, get to bed early and sleep in if you can. If your child takes regular naps, be sure that he or she can still rest if you are out for the day. Bring a blanket with you wherever you go. Find a tree at a park to take a nap under, or bring a stroller for your child to sleep in when she or he is tired.
* Eat on time or when hungry. When you and your child don't get enough nutrients, you slow down, become irritable and less focused. If you want to have a fun day, be sure to listen to your child when he or she is hungry and stop for food or a snack.
* Have simple rules and be sure to remind your child about these rules.
Playing in the Summer Sun
* To prevent sunburn, ensure your child is wearing an appropriate hat for outdoor play and apply sunscreen to exposed skin.
* To prevent heat-related illnesses, enjoy outdoor activities with your child during cooler times of the day (e.g., morning or late afternoon).
* To prevent dehydration, ensure you and your child drink lots of fluids prior to playing outside. Carry bottles of water or containers of juice if heading to a park or a play area.
* Help your child dress for the hot weather by showing them how to select light clothes as a way of keeping cool. Your child will learn different ways to care for his or her body when it is hot out.
Playing Close to Home
* To keep your child safe while on the balcony, be with your child at all times when he or she is playing and explain why he or she needs to stay back from the railing.
* Make sure that the outdoor play area is fenced with a gate that can be locked, or a latch that children cannot reach.
* Inspect your backyard for poisonous plants and make sure that grass and plants are not sprayed with pesticide.
* Look out for unsafe items and products such as tools and insecticides and make sure they are stored out of your child's reach.
Safety at the Park
* Take a few minutes to inspect outdoor play areas to ensure that they are free of unsafe items, such as broken glass, to protect your child from injury.
* Supervise your child closely when he or she plays in or near the water.Children can drown in very shallow water.
* Discuss important safety rules with your child, so they can take precautions when playing outside and tell you about unsafe situations she notices.
* Play with your child at playgrounds with surfaces that cushion falls (e.g., sand). Hard play surfaces can lead to serious injuries when falls occur.
* Be sure that your child does not play alone in the car or is left unattended. Cars heat up quite quickly on hot summer days, putting your child at risk.
* Always keep your car locked and the keys in a secure place so that your child cannot play in the car and get locked in accidentally.
* Install a trunk release mechanism to prevent your child from ever being locked in the trunk of the car.
* Remember to monitor your children, even when packing or removing items from the vehicle.Once you arrive at your destination, ensure that all children leave the car safely, paying special attention to sleeping infants.
For more summer safety tips to help you safety proof your child's summer, visit www.investinkids.ca/summer.Invest in Kids is a national charity dedicated to helping parents become the parents they want and need to be. By translating the science of parenting and child development into engaging, easy-to-understand, relevant resources for parents and professionals, Invest in Kids aims to strengthen the parenting knowledge, skills and confidence of all those who touch the lives of our youngest children to ensure the healthy social, emotional and intellectual development of children from birth to age five. For additional information, visit www.investinkids.ca