Summer Safety Checklist

Summer Safety Checklist

Tips to help your child stay safe in the sun this summer.


Most children spend the entire school year anticipating summer vacation. Long days of playing outside and swimming are typically at the top of the activity list. However, these recreational activities can become dangerous without the appropriate precautions. Make sure your child knows how to stay safe for an accident-free summer.

Sun Safety
Protect your child from the sun’s harmful rays during outdoor play. Limit your child’s sun exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and instruct him to stay in the shade as much as possible. Your child’s summer wardrobe should include a hat with a 3-inch brim and sunglasses with 99 percent to 100 percent ultraviolet ray protection. Dress your child in one layer of clothing made of an absorbent material. The material should be tightly woven cotton, light-colored and lightweight. Replace any sweat-saturated items with dry clothing. For the exposed portions of your child, apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Make sure to apply sunscreen on both sunny and cloudy days. Apply the correct amount per the instructions on the bottle and reapply every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.

Heat Safety
Children are susceptible to heat-related illness in the summer. Reduce the intensity of activities 15 minutes or longer in length when heat and humidity reach high levels to avoid heat stress and exhaustion. Make sure children are well-hydrated before, during and after physical activity, and encourage frequent drinking even if the child says she is not thirsty. If your child’s summer travel plans include a trip to a warmer climate, limit her outdoor physical activity for the first two weeks. Gradually increase the amount of activity over the two-week period to allow the child’s body to acclimate to the change in temperature.

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Pool Safety
Never leave a child unsupervised in or near a pool or spa for any period of time. Teach children 4 and older to swim, and make sure infants or toddlers in or around water have an adult within arm's reach. Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as "floaties," as these do not substitute for approved life vests and can give a child a false sense of security. If you have a pool at your home, install a 4-foot-tall or higher fence around all sides of the pool. This applies to both above- and in-ground pools. Make sure the gate opens out from the pool and self-closes. Additionally, place the latch at a height where young children cannot reach it, and make sure it automatically latches each time it is opened or closed. In case of emergencies, place a shepherd's hook (a long pole with a hook on the end), life preserver and portable phone near the pool. Suction from pool and spa drains can trap a child underwater. Do not use a pool or spa if there are broken or missing drain covers.

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