How to Keep Summer Safe

In the summers when I was a kid, we would play a game called “jarts.” The actual “jarts” were heavy metal spikes with plastic wings that we would toss toward a small hula hoop so many yards away.

Needless to say, those “jarts” have been banned in the U.S. for many years.

Backyards can be a wonderful place to play in the summer for children, but certain safety precautions should be taken.

Before going outside, sunscreen (with SPF of 15 or more) should be applied. Sunburn can happen easily in the great outdoors.

Likewise, to prevent insect bites, an insect repellent containing 10-30% DEET can be applied to kids 2 months of age and older.

The repellent should be washed off once the kids come indoors.

Stagnant water in the backyard should be dumped out to prevent mosquitoes. Foods that are left out, especially if sweet, can attract biting and stinging insects.

Playground equipment should be routinely checked for soundness, and some sliding boards can get hot enough in the summer to burn the skin.

Trampolines are excellent sources for injuries. They are best avoided completely.

Most injuries happen when more than one child is on them. I see LOTS of injuries from trampolines.

Children should not be in the backyard when someone else is mowing. Not only is a lawnmower’s blade dangerous, it can also forcefully sling items it runs over at a very high velocity.

Walk-behind lawnmowers should only be used by those 12 and older. Riding lawnmowers should only be used by those 16 and above.

Children should not ride as passengers.

ATV’s should be driven only by those old enough to drive a car. Nearly one in three ATV accidents involve children.

ATVs are not made for pavement or for passengers. Protective equipment such as helmets should be worn by those who use them.

Swimming pools should be fenced in and locked up when not in use. Children swimming in them should be supervised at all times.

Both grills and fire pits can be sources of burns. Children who are around either one should be closely supervised as long as it is still hot.

Holes in the backyard that are not filled in are a great source of sprained ankles and fractured limbs.

Backyards in the summer can be fun places for kids to play and a source of wonderful childhood memories. Let us keep them safe.