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Summer safety tips for kids

Summer is often a time when children get to take a break from school and participate in fun activities like swimming, biking, camping, or traveling to popular vacation spots with their families. During this season of enjoyment and outdoor play, it's important to stay safe.

Here are some summer safety tips to help you and your family avoid some common accidents.

Group of children riding bikes on a trail.

Designate a water watcher.

According to the CDC, approximately 4,000 unintentional drowning deaths occur annually in the United States.1 The highest drowning rates are among 1- to 4-year-olds; in fact, drowning is the leading cause of death for this age group.1 Increasing access to basic swimming and water safety skills training is a key prevention strategy – and not just for children. Consider this: more than half of U.S. adults reported that they have never taken a swimming lesson!1

The estimated number of non-fatal drowning injuries in 2022 was 6,400 for children younger than 15 years of age.2

Here are some simple ways that families can practice water safety:

  • Assign responsible adults to closely supervise children at the pool, beach or water park and watch them attentively regardless of the children's swimming ability.
  • Consider having older children and adults in the family learn CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) to help someone if their breathing or heart stops.
  • Keep pools properly covered when not in use. This restricts access to the pool and can prevent accidental drowning incidents.
  • Read and obey all water safety signs at the pool, beach or water park.
  • Enroll family members of all ages in swim classes so they can learn basic swimming and water safety skills.

Be smart in the sun.

During the summer, days are longer and there is more sunlight. Great sunny weather allows little ones to enjoy the outdoors while receiving a beneficial dose of vitamin D for bone health.3 However, too much sun can cause harm. Negative effects can include sunburns, skin changes, early aging, eye injuries, a weakened immune system, and skin cancer.4

In the U.S., there are 300 new cases of melanoma a year in children and adults under the age of 20.5

Families can protect their skin from the sun's harmful rays by taking a few preventative measures:6

  • Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or after sweating or swimming. Sunburns are still possible on cloudy days, so don't skip the sunscreen just because the sky is overcast.
  • Wear protective clothing like sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, pants, and lightweight long-sleeved shirts whenever possible. Purchase sun-protective clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) number for more effective protection.
  • Seek shade during the day between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., which is when the sun's UV rays are the strongest.
  • Stay hydrated with chilled drinks and fresh fruits and vegetables with high water content. Integrate hydration breaks into summer schedules so that children can rehydrate while playing.

Look before you lock your vehicle.

Most parents cannot imagine themselves ever leaving their children in a hot car, but it can happen to anyone. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 29 children died of heatstroke in vehicles in 2023.7 A child's body temperature increases three to five times faster than an adult's,7 so when children are left unattended in hot vehicles, the situation becomes dangerous quickly.

More than 50% of pediatric vehicular heatstroke deaths are the result of a caregiver forgetting that the child was in the car.8

Family drivers can help prevent heatstroke deaths by taking the following measures:

  • Develop a habit of checking the entire vehicle interior—specifically the back seat—before locking the vehicle and walking away.
  • Place an important object in the back seat to serve as a reminder to check your vehicle before you leave it. The item should be something that you will need when you arrive at your destination, such as a cell phone, purse, or briefcase.
  • Don't leave a young child alone in a car for any amount of time, even if the windows are down or you park in the shade.
  • Create a plan with your child care center to call you if your child is unexpectedly absent after the school day begins.
  • Keep keys out of children's reach and teach kids to never enter a vehicle for play without an adult present.

Teach children the rules of the road.

Bicycling is a popular recreational activity for U.S. youth, with 18% of children (ages 6-12) cycling on a regular basis.9 While biking allows kids to enjoy the outdoors and boost their physical health, it also requires responsibility and vigilance on the road or biking path to avoid serious injury or death. You may be surprised to learn that bicycling actually leads to the highest number of sports- and recreation-related emergency department visits for traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in the United States.10

Using a bicycle helmet reduces head injury by 48%.10

Families can protect young bike riders by teaching them to follow these important safety tips:

  • Follow the rules of the road and be aware of your surroundings. Teach your kids to take riding seriously. This includes obeying all traffics signs and signals, avoiding cell phone and headphone use, and following local bicycle and traffic laws.
  • Use the right bike. Ensure that your child has the right bike size so that they can ride comfortably and safely. Be sure to also check all bike equipment before riding.
  • Wear a properly-fitting helmet and safety gear, including gloves, elbow pads, knee pads, and wrist protection.
  • Wear appropriate attire for bike riding, including brightly-colored clothing and close-toed shoes. Instruct your children to always make sure their shoes are tied and none of their clothing is loose before they begin riding.
  • Teach children to always be mindful of hazards like potholes, broken glass, loose gravel, and any similar obstacles that could cause them to lose control of their bikes.

Before you settle into your summer routine, set some time to speak with your family about safety. There are numerous free resources online and in your community—such as workshops at your local library or park district. Depending on the child's age, instructional videos and books could also be a helpful tool to communicate guidelines and share tips to keep everyone safe.

Group Accident Insurance from Allstate Benefits

No matter how careful you are, life is unpredictable and sometimes accidents are inevitable. The safety tips outlined here can help you and your loved ones stay safe and prevent summer mishaps, but if you or a family member ever sustains an injury, Group Accident Insurance from Allstate Benefits is here to help you recover and return to your summer routine.

Click here to learn more about Accident Insurance coverage from Allstate Benefits.

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