2013-05-30 / Lifestyles

Grandparents Teach, Too

Families: keep outdoor play safe

Spring has arrived! There are finally new opportunities for children to enjoy outdoor play. In your backyard, at the playground, or on walks in the woods, there are things to explore and challenges to meet. Below are some tips that will help families keep young children safe. They are good topics for family discussions and get everyone involved. For more see grandparentstheachtoo.org and wnmufm.org.

-Most importantly, toddlers and other young children need to be supervised at all times.

-Be sure to dress for the weather and conditions. Boots and umbrellas can be a lot of fun.

-As the weather gets warmer, keep kids hydrated with handy water bottles or frequent drinks.

-In any type of weather, children should not be left alone in your vehicle. Dangerous overheating can happen very quickly.

-Talk with your pediatrician about the safe use of sunscreen and insect repellant.

-Check your backyard and other play areas for trash, glass, sharp objects and animal waste.

-Set up safety expectations with your children and be consistent. Example: “We always wear our helmets when we ride bikes. We never play in or near the street. We always hold a hand when we are in a parking lot or crossing the street.”

In the car: Establish safe routines include always using approved car seats and seat buckles. Keep windows partially closed and doors locked in the backseat.

Near the water: Never let young children play without supervision near pools, tubs or bodies of water. Pool areas near your house should always be fenced and properly closed.

At the playground: Be sure swings are made of soft material and that flooring is a cushioned surface. Experts advise that preschool age children never climb on or use equipment that is more than four feet off the ground. Teach your child to play away from swings and from the bottom of slides. Always wash hands after playing in open sandbox areas because of possible animal waste. Cover sandboxes.

At parties: Even simple fireworks such as sparklers can be dangerous for preschoolers. While they look like fun, trampolines and inflatable bouncing play areas are often a source of injury, and pediatricians discourage their use.

Be sure that children are not playing in driveways where they may not be seen if cars are backed up, or in areas where lawnmowers or weedwackers are being used.

Playing outdoors is an important part of growing up. Backyards, woods, fields, and playgrounds provide room to exercise, to explore and to experience the wonders of nature. As families, we must be sure to provide a safe environment for our children as they grow and enjoy the fun of the warmer months.

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