1. Take Sun Safety Seriously
Sun safety is a really big deal. When I was little, we ran around practically naked in the sun for the entire day, all summer long. Now we know more about skin cancer and other health impacts of too much sun and heat. Visit my post here for a trip around the sun safety measures you can take in your household.
2. Stay Hydrated
Dehydration can happen at any age. It is very serious and can be life-threatening. Hot weather and lots of activity (hello summer!) can lead to dehydration or sunstroke very easily. Take measures against these things by making sure your kids are getting enough liquids and take breaks from the sun and heat. Carry water with you everywhere you go, remind often, and treat them to a popsicle or watermelon for an afternoon treat!
Watch for signs and symptoms and treat them immediately/properly.
3. Know it All on Water Safety
This one is a huge one for me. I lose sleep over the water safety issues and we don’t even have a pool.
To keep your kids safe at a home that has a pool, is located on a lake/river/pond or is oceanfront (dreamy!), first talk to your child (age-appropriately) about the rules and issues at hand (such as not going outside without a parent or first asking, no rough housing around water, etc.).
Secondly, ensure the home environment is outfitted to protect small curious children such as keeping exterior doors locked, and even using simple items such as an adjustable shower rod to keep sliding doors from opening (aligning high and out of reach). If it is possible to add safety locks at the top of the door, that is great! If not, think about adding childproof handle protectors such as this or this (the lever one is pretty strong, on purpose, and will definitely take off paint if you need to remove it). Consider using alarms sounds for exterior doors as they might be needed to keep you totally informed in a big house (and keep the kids hesitant to go against the rules!).
When visiting a body of water, make sure you children have the proper gear such as a life jacket or other floatation device like this or this as needed. Never leave them alone in or near water, even if you trust them on a normal basis.
4. Don’t Take Your Eyes Off the Prize
Children die all the time at crowded pool parties or beaches filled with hundreds of people. Adults might get distracted or think someone else is watching the children, and then a tragic accident happens because no one knows who was on-duty. Play ‘tag’ with your partner if needed so each person knows who is on-duty for water safety, be super clear and receive confirmation from the other person.
When at crowded theme parks, playgrounds or other summer-fun locations, put your phone down and be vigilant. Dress your kids in bright clothing you can recognize from far away. Consider Safety Tats and location trackers (below).
5. Keep Up the Baby Proofing
Keep securely installed baby gates safely closed near staircases or if you use them to barrier against exterior doors or exits to water. Summer fun and visitors can lead to a more casual and festive environment. Ensure safety is still a priority.
Ensure the kitchen is properly baby proofed by keeping potentially toxic items (when ingested) such as sunscreens, pool cleaners, grill cleaner, dish soaps, laundry detergent and other potentially hazardous products very out of reach and locked/secured. Visit my post here about Baby Proofing 101.
Summer vacation means riding bikes with your friends around the neighborhood or to the park, or hitting the beach with the whole clan! Busy family adventures or newly independent outings (for those reaching that appropriate age) are wonderful.
Stay on top of the safety risk here by talking to your children. Open, frequent and clear communication is critical. Remind your children to never go off with a stranger (even if that means disobeying an adult), keep you posted on their whereabouts, that there is strength in numbers, always use the buddy system, and if they have a bad feeling about something – it’s probably not the right decision.
7. Consider Location Trackers
This one is controversial in some ways and doesn’t suit everyone’s preference/belief system. However, if it works well for the safety and well-being of you and your family, consider GPS tracking devices for your kids, whether that is Find my Friends on their iPhone, or a GSP/Emergency Watch, this watch or this clip tracker for clothing or bags.
8. Read the Signs
Beaches normally post if there is a riptide, strong current or no lifeguard on-duty. Pay attention. If visiting national parks, take precautions around areas with steep ledges or with signage posted about dangerous rocks, waterways, or animals. Teach your children to follow these rules too.
9. Helmets & Other Product Measures
Safety gear is easy. Have your kid’s on the bike helmet or knee pads. Add cool lights to their scooters or bikes for dusk or nighttime. Wear bright and reflective clothing on adventures in the woods. Carry a whistle on a hike or boating.
10. Stay Informed
If you have the Ring doorbell, add push notifications for the safety alerts on your phone or do the same for the Nextdoor app. Make sure your children, sitters and any other caregivers with your kids have/know your phone number. Post the closest hospital and safety numbers on the fridge – even if it is just a rental house for the week!
11. Refresh on CPR
You don’t have to spend 4 hours in a classroom. Visit the Red Cross website to refresh on CRP measures and make sure any other caregivers you have do the same.
12. First Aid Kit
13. Keep your Phone Charged
In case of emergency. Obviously. Have a back-up battery handy.