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Summer has arrived, which means many new opportunities for kids to enjoy outdoor play.
In your backyard, at the playground or on walks in the woods, there are things to explore and challenges to meet. Although families can't wrap children in giant protective cotton balls, here are some tips that will help keep young children safe and ease your mind.
1. Most importantly, toddlers and other young children need to be supervised at all times.
2. Be sure to dress for the weather and conditions. Boots and umbrellas can be a lot of fun.
3. As the weather gets hotter, keep kids hydrated with handy water bottles for frequent drinks.
4. In any type of weather, children should not be left alone in a vehicle. Dangerous overheating can happen very quickly.
5. Talk with your pediatrician about the safe use of sunscreen and insect repellent for your child and allergies to insect bites.
6. Check your backyard and other play areas for trash, glass, sharp objects and animal waste.
7. Set up safety expectations with your children and be consistent. Example: "We always wear our helmets when we ride bikes. We never play in or near the street. We always hold a hand when we are in a parking lot or crossing the street. Stop. Look and Listen."
8. In the car: Establish safe routines which include always using approved car seats and seat buckles. Keep windows partially closed and doors locked in the backseat.
9. Near the water: Never let young children play without supervision near pools, tubs or bodies of water. Pool areas near the house should always be fenced and properly closed.
10. At the playground: Be sure swings are made of soft material and that flooring is a cushioned surface. Experts advise that preschool age children never climb on or use equipment that is more than 4 feet off the ground. Teach children to play away from swings and from the bottom of slides. Wash hands after playing in open sandbox areas because of possible animal waste.
11. At parties: Even simple fireworks such as sparklers can be dangerous for children. The tip can be as high as 2,000 degrees. While they look like fun, trampolines and inflatable bouncing play areas are often a source of injury.
12. Be sure that children are not playing in driveways where they may not be seen if cars back up, or in areas where lawnmowers or weed whackers are being used. When cars back up hold their hands at a designated safe place at home. Thousands of young children are killed each year by family members backing up.
13. Make sure children are supervised in public bathrooms and other public places.
Esther Macalady lives in Golden. Grandparents Teach Too is an organization that helps families prepare young children for success in school and a lifetime love of learning. For more fun check out grandparents teachtoo.blogspot.com, also Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest.
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