How much fun is summer when you are a kid? All that time outdoors, all that time by the water. Summer holidays can make for some of the best childhood memories. But it’s also a time of year when we as parents keep an extra eye out for the hazards that can be around, particularly this time of year. So with sun on the skin and fun on the mind, we’ve pulled together just a few of the top potential problems to just keep in the backs of our minds…
Gone are the days when we freely roasted outside – now we are all only too aware of the dangers the sun can present, especially to young skin. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the major cause of cancer. UV cannot be seen or felt, and its intensity varies depending on where you are, what time of day it is, what the weather is like – there are so many variables. Although UV is also a natural source of Vitamin D, skin can burn in less than 11 minutes when outside on a hot Australian summer’s day.
Get kids into the routine of wearing a hat and perhaps even sunglasses during summer. Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before they head outdoors, and remember to reapply more frequently if they’re getting wet or sweating a lot.
Safety is paramount when kids are around water. Whether it’s the ocean waves, a backyard pool, a cool refreshing bath, a country creek or dam, a bucket of water, a pet’s drink bowl or anything and everything in-between, vigilance is key.
Little Nippers is a tremendous way for tiny tackers to begin to learn about water safety and survival, but not all of us have access to such a fabulous initiative. If you are holidaying on an Australian beach with children, then go to areas that are patrolled. They may be busier but they are so much safer than the alternative. Swim between the flags. This might sound like an obvious suggestion but when kids are having a ball in the water and the current is so lively, they can quickly shift well beyond the patrolled perimeter without having a clue.
According to Kidsafe, half the children under five who drown do so in private pools or spas – a chilling fact. If you’re on holidays make sure your pool is fenced off. This is a legal requirement in Australia but if you’re travelling overseas, it is certainly not always the case. Never leave kids unsupervised around water – if you have to duck out briefly for some reason then remove your children from the water and ensure it is not possible for them to re-enter whilst you are away.
It’s the silly season. It’s summer fun. We’ve all got 50 things on our mind and we’re trying to do everything at once. This is an especially important time of year to be vigilant about road safety, starting with your own driveway.
Fact one – kids can move fast. In the time it takes you to jump into the driver’s seat and clip in, a child could move from a front door to behind the vehicle and not be seen due to their height.
Fact two – all cars have blind spots.
Combine these facts and you have a potential recipe for disaster. No matter how frantic your festive and summer season is, walk to the back of your car before you jump in and check it’s all clear. Keep any kids in sight the whole time you’re reversing. Teach children to avoid the drive way at all times – never encourage it to be used as a play area when the car is parked, as this will only make them feel more familiar and at ease with the area.
Also – never leave a child (or human being or animal, for that matter) in a parked car, no matter how briefly you’re away from the vehicle or how well-ventilated it is. This is a tragedy so easily avoided.
Here Comes the Wildlife!
Mozzies, flies, wasps, bees, snakes, spiders, jelly fish… Don’t they say Australia has some of the deadliest critters on the planet? Well, we’re not going to get ourselves worked up by that but it is good to just be a little more aware in these warmer months. Keep insect repellent handy, avoid any beaches that have jellyfish or blue bottle warnings, encourage your kids to be in sandals or thongs versus bare feet and avoid walks in long, dry grass where you can’t see anything slithering by!
Summer is here to be enjoyed, not feared, and we love getting out and having a great time with the family. But that said it is good to just keep a few things at top of mind so that your kids have a super – and safe – summer. Have a ball!