When the last school bell rings and the last yellow bus returns to the garage, the structured days of school, homework and extra-curriculars give way to the seemingly endless days of summer.
“Summer is a great time for kids to unwind, have fun, and just enjoy living in the moment, but sometimes the loss of structure and too much idle time can lead to unsafe situations,” said Lisa Pardi, RN, injury prevention coordinator for Akron Children’s Hospital.
For many families, the end of the school year means a change in routines, worries about child care and striking a balance between planned activities and giving kids enough free time.
From stranger danger to pedestrian accidents, here are some tips for parents as we move into summer:
Strangers: This is a good time to talk to your kids about strangers – What is a stranger, how most strangers are good people but some are bad, and what to do if someone they don’t know asks them to get into a car or help them.
“Without letting the talk get too scary, it’s a good idea to talk through hypotheticals and see what your kids say they would do in various situations,” said Pardi.
Home alone: To help determine if your child should be home alone consider his age, maturity, ability to handle urgent situations, the environment, amount of time and how he is feeling about being alone.
“If you determine that your child can be home alone, make sure he has a house key in a safe place and the necessary numbers in case of an emergency,” said Pardi.
Akron Children’s Safe Sitter has a good “home alone” curriculum for children ages 11 and older, whether or not they plan to care for younger children.
Dehydration: As the temperatures go up, children should drink plenty of fluids. Make sure they have their own water bottle filled with cold water and they are drinking often. This is especially important for kids playing sports and spending lots of time in the sun.
Water Safety: Keep your children water safe by signing them up for swim lessons, keeping backyard pools fenced and strictly enforcing rules when around water. But nothing replaces adult supervision whenever children are at the pool, lake or ocean. “Drowning is silent,” said Pardi. “It can happen in the time it takes to answer a phone call.”
Helmets: Kids should wear helmets while on skateboards, skates, scooters and bicycles.
“Get kids in the habit of wearing helmets from the earliest age possible,” said Pardi. “No body part is more important to protect than your brain.”
Trampolines: American Academy of Pediatrics advises against recreational trampolines, which cause thousands of injuries and hospitalizations each year.
Vehicles: Whether they are chasing after a stray ball or hurrying to a friend’s house, many children are careless when it comes to streets and understanding traffic dangers.
“Supervision is critical,” said Pardi, “and parents should enforce rules regarding where children are allowed to play. This, of course, will be determined by their age, maturity and where you live.”
Tragically, each year, a few children die while being left in a hot car, either intentionally or as a result of a parent who forgets the child is in the backseat. Yet another risk: rollover accidents, which typically occur when a small child is in the blind spot as a car is backing up.
Windows:Each spring and summer, Akron Children’s treats numerous children who fall out of windows.
“When the weather warms up, people are opening up the house and kids fall out of windows,” said Pardi. “Many times they are running, climbing, exploring and it happens quite suddenly,” said Pardi.
Summer is a special season for kids and families. Enjoy the bright and sunny days ahead and reduce the risk of an ER visit by keeping a close eye on the little ones.
and offer a number of pediatric subspecialty fellowship programs. In addition to our commitment to providing quality, family-centered care, we also strive to find ways to advance the prevention and treatment of childhood illness and injury through research. For more information, visit akronchildrens.org.
Summer is the best season of all, and yet dangers lurk for kids. Here are tips to keep everyone safe
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.