School’s (almost) out for summer. Here are a few things to keep in mind to help keep your kids and the kids in your neighborhood safe until August.
Keep kids busy
Put together an age-appropriate schedule to keep your children occupied in a fun, safe and productive way while out of school. Daily chores, day camps and activities with friends and family are all great ways to keep them from growing bored as the summer goes on. Checking with local schools, colleges, libraries and community centers to find low-cost, supervised options in your area.
Home alone – how to
Leaving your young teenager home alone for the first time can be a sometimes scary, but often unavoidable, step, especially for parents who work outside the home. Make sure you set ground rules about having friends over, answering the door or phone, using kitchen appliances, leaving the house, etc. and follow through on enforcement. It’s important to be accessible throughout the day; make a schedule for regular check ins. Make sure your children know exactly what steps to take when faced with an emergency and practice role-playing those steps – a local babysitting safety course is a great option for covering various scenarios that could arise.
With school out, more children will be out and about throughout the day. Watch for children in the streets. Keep an eye out for any suspicious vehicles or individuals, and make sure your children are checking in periodically throughout the day. Make sure neighborhood playground equipment is safe and well-maintained. Have a first-aid kit on hand to tend to the inevitable bumps and cuts that come with days spent riding bikes, playing ball and inventing imaginative games.
Beat the heat
Heat-related illness can sneak up on you, and children under 4 are at the greatest risk. Never leave infants, children or pets in a parked car – even if the windows are cracked open. Make sure to wear loose and lightweight clothing; schedule outdoor activities during the coolest parts of the day; drink plenty of water; and seek immediate medical attention if anyone in your household is displaying symptoms of heat-related illness.
Prevent serious sunburns and risk of skin cancer by covering up and wearing a sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and UVA/UVB protection every time you go outside.
For more information about summer safety, visit the CDC’s website.