Summer is one of the most exciting times of the year for kids, but it’s also a time when kids can be at risk for injuries. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is here to help with our 10 summer safety tips to keep your adventures as safe as they are fun.
1. Prevent bug bites. Use bug spray. Put on insect repellent with DEET (10 to 30% for children older than 2 months) or Picaridin (5% to 10%) to protect from mosquito and tick bites. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label. Check yourself and your children for ticks.
2. Water safety. Have a responsible adult supervise children swimming or playing in or around water. Wear a life jacket when boating.
3. Car safety. Use seat belts, child safety seats, and booster seats as appropriate for a child’s age and size for any trip across town or across the country. Never leave children or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked. Avoid activities that take your attention away from driving, like texting, using in-vehicle navigation, and eating.
4. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after activities. Listen to local weather announcements and remember the sun shines the strongest from 11 am to 4 pm.
5. Wear a helmet. A properly-fitted helmet is the best way to prevent head injuries while biking, skating, and skateboarding. Ride on the sidewalk when you can and use traffic signals and crosswalks while looking left, right, and left again before crossing the street.
6. Protect your skin. Use sunscreen that is at least SPF 15 and has UVA and UVB protection and wear a wide-brimmed hat. Reapply sunscreen after swimming and excessive sweating.
7. Food safety. Chill or refrigerate leftovers quickly. Don’t leave food out at room temperature for longer than two hours (or one hour if the outdoor temperature is above 90°F). Wash hands before eating with clear running water and apply soap. Rub hands for at least 20 seconds, then rinse.
8. Fireworks safety. Fireworks can cause serious injury, including blindness, burns, and loss of fingers. They get hot. Sparklers can be over 1000°F. It is important to use caution and follow directions from professionals when you are around fireworks displays.
9. Play safely. Check to be sure that playground equipment and surfaces are safe and well-maintained. Be careful when using trampolines, because landing wrong can cause permanent injuries. When hiking outside, learn to recognize and avoid poison ivy and poison oak.
10. Equipment safety. Children who are too young to have a driver’s license should not be allowed to operate off-road vehicles. ATV riders should not ride double, should be trained on ATV use and wear appropriate clothing, shoes and head-and-eye protection. Children under 16 should not use ride-on mowers and children under 12 years should not use walk-behind mowers. Prevent injuries from flying objects by clearing the lawn before mowing and use sturdy shoes, ear, and eye protection.
Like these tips? Be sure to follow DHHS on Facebook and Twitter.