Summer Safety 101
School’s almost out for the summer which means all of the kids will be home and ready to play all day out in the sun. Before you let them run around freely, review these summer safety tips so you can make sure you’re kids have a good time while staying safe!
One summer activity that everyone seems to love whether it’s children or adults is time spent by the pool. It’s such a relaxing and enjoyable way to spend your summer, especially in southern California where temperatures can settle at over 100 degrees for days or even weeks at a time. However, while the pool offers a nice break from the blazing temperatures of summer, it can also offer many safety hazards.
To allow your kids the opportunity to enjoy the pool while also keeping them safe, make a list of rules for them to follow.
These rules should include:
An adult must be present at the pool at all times. This way, if something does happen, an adult is present and can either find a solution themselves or call for help.
No running in the pool area. The ground around the pool is often covered in water making it incredibly slippery and therefore very dangerous. While kids might enjoy playing tag or running from one place to another, it’s in their best interest to walk when near the pool.
No diving head first - especially in shallow pools. Most pools will already have this rule in place, but it’s essential to reinforce since you can’t always have eyes on your kids. Even diving in a pool that is 5 feet deep can be hazardous for someone not properly trained. Diving into shallow areas can lead to scrapes, bruises, and even head injuries. In the worst cases, kids can hit their heads and lose consciousness while still underwater.
Another tip that can be useful in maintaining a safe pool, especially at home, is keeping a fence up around the pool. This is most beneficial for homes with small children around them so that no one accidentally falls in.
As we previously mentioned, we are no strangers to heat in southern California. Just last summer, we had temperatures reach highs of 115 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re not careful when temperatures get this high, you or your kids could face serious health risks, including heat stroke.
Some symptoms of heat stroke include:
High body temperature. A core body temperature of 104 degrees or higher, is the main sign of heatstroke.
Altered mental state. Confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, and seizures, can all result from heatstroke.
Nausea and vomiting.
Rapid breathing. Your breathing may become rapid and shallow.
Racing heart rate. Your pulse may significantly increase because heat stress places a tremendous burden on your heart to help cool your body.
If left untreated, heat stroke can even lead to damage to your brain, heart, kidneys, and muscles. The longer you leave it untreated, the worse the damage will get and could even lead to death.
Another important factor to remember in situations of extreme heat is remaining hydrated. Our bodies are made up of 60% water so if we are running around and sweating we lose a lot of this water. Kids especially forget to replenish the water they’ve lost and are in greater danger of dehydration.
Additionally, as your body sweats, it releases a lot of salt. You may think this is no big deal, but salt is responsible for carrying fluids through your blood which are necessary to your bodies natural bodily functions and survival. Similar to the effects of heat stroke, a loss of sodium can lead to muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting and dizziness, and even coma or death in extreme cases.
Another favorite summer pastime is riding bikes, scooters, skateboards, and now even hoverboards. While these are all fun and exhilarating ways to spend time as a kid, they come with quite a few safety risks. To prevent injury while riding these make sure your kids do the following:
Wear a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards.
Always stay on high alert when riding or playing in the street, even if it is on a cul de sac.
Look both ways before crossing the street.
Attach reflectors or reflective stickers to your kids' bikes so that cars can see them, this helps most at night but is still beneficial during the day.
By following all of these steps and remembering the tips we’ve provided you will put yourself and your family in the best position to have a safe summer full of fun in the sun. For any questions you might have about summer safety, feel free to reach out to the Los Angeles County Fire Department Foundation.