SCHOOL-AGE

Parents Canada - - Contents - BY AMY BIELBY

Safety first: The rules and tools you need to stay safe this sum­mer.

Chil­dren need time to ex­plore, cre­ate and play in­de­pen­dently – as long as it in a safe en­vi­ron­ment. Use these gen­eral sum­mer safety tips, go over them with your kids, then let them have a lit­tle fun.

1. SLATHER ON THE SUN­SCREEN

Sun­screen isn’t just for swel­ter­ing, sunny days; there are harm­ful UV rays lurk­ing about on cloudy days, too. Use a min­i­mum of SPF 15, but don’t go too crazy – stick to a max­i­mum of SPF 60. It is easy to miss spots if you are us­ing a spray sun­screen, so be sure to spray ev­ery area of ex­posed skin. Use lo­tion on the face rather than spray to avoid in­hala­tion of the sun­screen. Use wa­ter-re­sis­tant sun­screen and reap­ply af­ter wa­ter ac­tiv­i­ties.

2. STAY HY­DRATED

It’s al­ways im­por­tant to drink plenty of wa­ter, but this is even truer dur­ing the sum­mer months. Be­fore you head to the park, or even the back­yard, pre-hy­drate. Gather the fam­ily and toast with a big glass of cold wa­ter. Keep wa­ter bot­tles with you on hikes and bike rides, and of­fer fruit as snacks through the day. Af­ter high-en­ergy ac­tiv­i­ties like soc­cer or even swim­ming, re­hy­drate.

3. PRAC­TISE POOL SAFETY

Ac­cord­ing to red­cross.ca, you should es­tab­lish a set of pool rules, even for your own back­yard. Rules can in­clude swim­ming with a buddy, en­ter­ing the wa­ter feet first, keep­ing the pool deck clear of toys and de­bris, and, of course, al­ways hav­ing an adult present. Those are just a few to start. For full wa­ter safety rules, visit red­cross.ca. Re­mem­ber that kids should not be left unat­tended in a pool area, even for a mo­ment.

4. SUIT UP

A proper hel­met is needed for bik­ing, scoot­ing, roller blad­ing or skate­board­ing. Be sure that your child’s hel­met is cer­ti­fied by the Cana­dian Stan­dards As­so­ci­a­tion or the Con­sumer Prod­uct Safety Com­mis­sion and fits prop­erly. It should not fall over the ears or eyes. Chances are, your kiddo will need a new hel­met each year to achieve that per­fect fit. Skip the used hel­mets. A sec­ond­hand hel­met may be old and dam­aged. Sure it’s nice to save a few bucks, but it’s bet­ter to be safe.

Don’t for­get the kneepads, el­bow­pads, wrist­guards and gloves – par­tic­u­larly for rookie two-wheel rid­ers and skate­board­ers.

Pro­vide the tools (and rules) for a safe and happy sum­mer.

5. RE­SPECT THE EN­VI­RON­MENT

Mother na­ture can get pretty crazy in the sum­mer, so show her some re­spect. Rain­storms can be fun to splash around in, but avoid be­ing out­doors as soon as you see light­ning – es­pe­cially when in the pool, on a lake, on a base­ball field or on a golf course.

Rivers, lakes and creeks can be­come very dan­ger­ous dur­ing heavy rain, with strong cur­rents and flood­ing.

Even “ex­pert” swim­mers should avoid all bod­ies of wa­ter dur­ing a storm.

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