Summer time is the perfect time to be a kid—but it’s also a dangerous time to be a kid, according to Angela Liddle, executive director of the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance (PFSA).
She quoted a study conducted by Safe Kids USA that shows an increase in serious injuries and unintentional deaths involving kids 14 years old and younger during the summer months.
“During the summer months, kids are outdoors more and participating in activities such as bicycle riding, swimming, and skateboarding,” Liddle said. “Kids are also more likely to be unsupervised as they enjoy summer outside.”
Here are some things you can do to lessen the chance of accidents and injuries:
Make sure your child wears a helmet when riding a bicycle. (In Pennsylvania, wearing a bicycle helmet is mandatory for children younger than 12.) You, the adult, should also wear a bicycle helmet when you ride. Kids notice when adults say one thing but do another.
If you own a swimming pool, have a fence installed around it. The gate should be self-closing and self-latching.
Teach your children pool and water safety even if you don’t have a pool. If you take your kids to a beach, always keep an eye on them when they’re in the water. Adults should take turns being the designated watcher.
Adults and children should always wear life vests when boating.
When traveling by car—especially in residential neighborhoods—keep an eye out for kids who might be running and playing outside and riding bikes. Slow down. You never know when a kid may dart into the street to catch a ball.
Be a resource to kids in your neighborhood. If you know neighbor kids are home alone during the day, let the parents know you’re willing to have the kids come to your house if there’s a problem.
Keep a concerned and friendly eye on neighborhood kids who are playing outside.
“Catch” kids practicing good safety. If you see kids wearing helmets and looking for cars when riding their bikes, let them know you’ve noticed they’re doing a good job. It reinforces the good behavior.
Liddle said, “Just remember that everyone has a role to play in helping keep kids safe during the lazy hazy days of summer. This includes parents, neighbors, friends, and relatives.”