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June is National Safety Month and with the approach of summer, what better time to ensure your kids are mindful of taking action to remain safe. There are several steps you can take to help keep your kids safe so they can enjoy the summer ahead.
Take care with medicines and potential food allergens
1. Help kids realize the need for medicine safety: Although your family may have a more relaxed schedule in the summer, remember to remain vigilant in ensuring your kids know about medicines and safety. Help kids understand why they should only take medicine intended for them, with differences in age and weight between kids and grown-ups, for example, being one of numerous factors.
2. Encourage kids to learn more about their own medicines: Remember that you can help kids of varying ages—from identifying their name on a medicine bottle to learning how to read dosage tables on over-the-counter medicines. Ensure that if they are old enough to take medicine on their own, that they are confident in doing so and know the proper dosage. And remember that kids as young as 6 can start to take responsibility for taking their own medicine.
3. Remind older kids of the dangers of drug abuse: The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports a softening of attitudes among 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-graders regarding perceived harm of non-medical use of prescription medications. Reading online about what misuse of prescription drugs can do to the brain may help older kids understand the biopsychological underpinnings for refraining from prescription drug abuse.
4. Be aware of food allergens: Let your kids know that while summer may offer more time to try new things, including new foods, that they should check with you first because there are several foods that can cause an allergic response. Problem foods for children can include eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and wheat. While some schools and states have adopted food allergy guidelines, remind kids to remain conscious of any food allergies they may have and act accordingly.
Prevent slips, trips, and falls
5. Develop an action plan for child injury prevention:
According to the CDC each day about 8,000 kids up to the age of 19—almost 2.8 million children each year—are treated in U.S. emergency rooms for fall-related injuries. Be mindful of where your kids play and help prevent unnecessary falls. Check out the CDC’s National Action Plan for Child Injury Prevention, and then see if you and kid can tailor a plan to your specific needs and situations. For younger kids, reinforce safe play with an activity, such as the CDC’s Color Me Safe coloring book.
6. Help your kids be safe on the playgound: With the summer months can come increased use of playgrounds. With your kids, check out the local playground—or you backyard if you have playground equipment—to ensure that it is safe for play.
7. Promote kids’ understanding of the need for sports safety. The CDC advises making sure kids wear protective gear during sports and recreation. Remind your kids that no one wants to intentionally get hurt, so wearing the proper protective gear can decrease the risk of injury. Other factors, such as knowing the rules of the game and watching out for others, can also reduce the risk.
Know the surroundings
8. Ensure kids know their address and their way home: With summer can come an increased number of activities, including going to different events and locations. If your kids go to the park, the community center, the local pool, or their friends’ homes, for example, make sure they know their way in both directions. Try some interactive games that include the concept of maps that may help kids understand direction and the relation of home to other locations.
9. Make sure kids know 9-1-1: Even in familiar surroundings an emergency can arise. Let kids know what situations warrant 911 calls. Practice with younger kids on learning the numbers buttons on a landline and cell phone, and what they need to do differently on the cell than home phone.
Don’t forget sun and water safety
10. Provide protection from the sun: Make sure you kids are equipped with sun screen, hat, sunglasses, and clothing that provide adequate protection against the harmful effects of the sun. Have your kids see how much they know about protecting themselves from harmful UV rays by activities like online quizzes.
11. Reinforce water safety: For younger kids, try some interactive games to teach safety for home and public pools, and introduce the process of learning to swim. Consider signing your kids up for swimming lessons, and let your kids know about various aspects of water safety.
These are just a few ideas to help your kids have a fun-filled summer, and be safe all year as well. Check out more on websites, such as the CDC, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and others, for safety information.