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5 Summer Safety Tips Every Parent Should Know

Image Gallery: Parenting While summer is a time for fun and relaxation, there are dangers out there that can bring summertime blues.
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Ah, summertime. School's out and a variety of activities fill the schedules of most kids. The living is easy, but the potential for accidents looms large. As we laze in the carefree summer days, it's easy to get distracted, and that's when accidents occur. In fact, the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) cautions that summer is when most injuries happen. So, here are some tips for safely enjoying your summer fun.

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One of the best parts of summer is firing up the grill. Except for the fact that high heat and outdoor cooking make summer a prime time for food-borne illnesses. Fret not -- there are some simple rules of thumb to ensure you and your family can enjoy your burgers without gastrointestinal repercussions. Always prepare and pack your meats separate from all other foods. If you're traveling, meat should be packed in a leak-proof bag that stays on ice. Make sure that meat gets cooked all the way through and leftovers go straight into the cooler. And be sure to keep a stash of antibacterial wipes or gels on hand.

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Don't forget your safety gear when you head to the park with your rollerblades or bike.
Don't forget your safety gear when you head to the park with your rollerblades or bike.
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An afternoon at the park is a lovely way to spend a lazy summer day, and a wide expanse of green space gives kids a much-needed opportunity to run around. Be sure to take plenty of water, especially in the dog days of summer. Kids should be well-hydrated when arriving at the park, and strenuous playtime commands frequent water breaks.

If there's a playground, take a look at the equipment before your kids climb on the swings. Park playgrounds aren't always well-maintained, so steer kids clear of rusty chains or loose boards. Accidents can happen, so be sure an adult is standing by at all times.

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Pool time is a great summer activity for kids, but it's also one that requires a good deal of precautionary measures. Sunscreen is a must, and should be applied at least 30 minutes before going outside -- even if it's overcast. Be sure to reapply after time in the pool. No running around the pool is a good house rule, and same goes for no diving in the shallow end. Children should be monitored at all times by an adult, even if they're good swimmers. You should keep a shepherd hook and a life preserver by the pool just in case. The beginning of pool season also is a great time to brush up on your CPR skills.

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Play dates can be fun for parents, too -- if everyone plays by the rules.
Play dates can be fun for parents, too -- if everyone plays by the rules.
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Play-dates are a welcome respite for many parents, but there are safety considerations even in the comfort of other parents' homes. Let your child know that your house's rules apply at play-dates as well, so no riding bikes in the street is still the deal. Offer to bring snacks, especially if your child has food allergies, and be sure the supervising parent is aware of any allergies or health issues. Be sure to leave all contact numbers, so if something goes awry, you can respond immediately. And it may feel controversial to question the play-date's parents about owning weapons and how they're stored, but it's a legitimate concern so don't feel bad about asking.

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Summertime is when many families hop in the car for a road trip to a vacation destination -- think the Griswolds and Wally World. Having a chat with your kids about car safety will help ensure a safer trip. Airbags are helpful tools for adults, but they can kill a small child, which means kids need to be properly buckled up in the back seat, shoulder strap in place. All kids under 40 pounds (18.1 kilograms) must be in a car seat. And if you're leaving on a jet plane, make sure that kids have their own seat -- preferably not in the aisle.

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Sources

  • "Airline Rules for Unaccompanied Children." Airsafe.com, December 5, 2007. http://www.airsafe.com/kidsafe/kidrules.htm
  • "CPSC Warns: Summer Fun Brings More Emergency Room Visits." U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, June 17, 2002. http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml02/02182.html
  • Muldoon, Michell. "PlayDate Etiquette." Asianparent.com, 2010. http://www.asianparent.com/asianparentcom--playdate-tips.aspx
  • "On the Airplane." Parents.com, 2010.http://www.parents.com/fun/vacation/safety/child-travel-safety-tips/
  • "Pool Safety." Family Education, 2010. http://fun.familyeducation.com/pool-safety/outdoor-activities/57462.html
  • "Protecting Children at the Park." Life360.com, February 12, 2010. http://www.life360.com/blog/protecting-children-at-the-park/
  • Sanders, Bethany. "Gun Safety - Do You Ask About Weapons Before a Playdate?" parentsdish.com, April 17, 2009. http://www.parentdish.com/2009/04/17/gun-safety-do-you-ask-about-weapons-before-a-playdate/
  • Sheppard, Paul. "When Kids Fly Alone." Family Education, 2010. http://life.familyeducation.com/safety/travel/29479.html
  • "Summer Food Safety." Family Education, 2010. http://life.familyeducation.com/safety/summer/48193.html
  • "Summer Safety Tips - Part I." American Academy of Pediatrics, 2010. http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/summertips.cfm

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