During the summer, family life can get hectic, but with young children, it is increasingly important that we as parents are prepared for this hot and dry season. There are many things to think about when it comes to being safe with young children, it’s not only important to be sun safe, but to be summer safe.
At Child’s Play ELC, we encourage our families over the holiday period to explore new places and try new activities with your children. However, we want all our families to stay summer safe, so here is a handy checklist for you to use over the summer.
Things to remember
Be Sun Safe
In Australia, being sun safe is very important due to the incredibly high UV ratings we experience during the summer months. As parents, it is our responsibility to make sure children don’t get sunburnt and grow up to be sun smart. One of the ways we can be role models is by showing and teaching our children Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide.
- Slip-on some sun safe clothing
- Slop on some sunscreen
- Slap on a hat
- Seek out some shade
- Slide on some sunglasses.
Another best practice we recommend is limiting sun exposure to earlier or later in the day during peak summer months (December-February). Schedule activities outside of 11am and 2pm when the sun is not at the highest point. At Childs Play, when every child joins they receive a bucket hat that is kept at the service, to be worn when needed throughout September to April.
Be Water Safe
As Australians, we love going to the beach or the pool but drowning is one of the most common causes of childhood death. So when we are out and about this summer, remember to keep close watch of your child and don’t let them go near water without adult supervision.
When going to the beach, make a conscious effort to choose a lifeguarded beach and always swim between the flags. Whilst swimming at the beach, don’t let your child go into the water without you.
When at your local swimming pool, watch out for rough play from older and bigger children to avoid your child from being dunked under the water. You should also practice walking safely around the pool and a feet first entry into the water. Potentially explain the importance of a feet first entry and how it can help children know what is in the water before swimming.
As parents, our best advice for any child is to start swimming lessons early and ensure your child is comfortable with water.
Prevent Heat-Related Issues
Heat exhaustion and dehydration are two issues that we believe should be talked about more with young families. Young children don’t understand needs and wants and often don’t recognise signs of fatigue, thirst and hunger until kindergarten age. As parents, there are a few things we can do to prevent our children from experiencing heat-related issues.
Limit activity time in hot weather
Try to do activities inside on days that exceed 30℃ and suggest play in well-ventilated areas to limit the amount of heat exhaustion your child might experience. When playing outside during the summer bring a spray bottle, an ice block and some cool towels to help children cool down. Encourage breaks if they are running around.
Rehydrate every 15 minutes to prevent dehydration
During your breaks, encourage children to drink plenty of water and fill up on hydrating snacks such as watermelon. Our top tip is to freeze and chill water bottles the night before so they stay cool when you are out and about all day.
Wear breathable sun safe clothing
One of the best ways to reduce the risk of heat-related issues is to be wearing loose-fitting, sun safe clothing like cargo shorts and t-shirts. This way your child doesn’t feel constricted by their clothes and they are less likely to suffer from heat exhaustion.
Consider your Summer Activities
Summer is the time to try new activities and go to new places and there is certainly lots to do. The last thing you want is for your child to injure themselves or get sick in any way from participating in these new activities, so here are some helpful hints.
When gardening, keep the sharp tools away from young children. If you want them to feel included and helpful, a great way to start is to get them their own set of child-friendly gardening tools from Bunnings or other gardening stores. Another great tip is to always watch what they touch and eat when playing in the backyard or someone’s garden, just in case your child experiences a reaction later that day.
When bike riding, be a role model and always wear a helmet. If you’re wearing it, your child is more likely to wear it too. If you are trying bike riding for the first time this summer, start off slow and keep encouraging them even when your child falls over.
When driving or spending the day out don’t leave a child unattended in a car. A car’s temperature can multiply every second it is left stationary in the sun, so always take your child with you even if it means waking them up. Another great tip our room leaders provided us with is to have cool or fresh air on when in the car during hot days – this way your child won’t feel uncomfortable when going on a long car ride.
Have fun this summer
It’s looking to be a beautiful summer season, so remember to get out and about and have fun with your child. If you are looking for ideas on what to do, our educators are locals to the area and will be able to provide some child-friendly activities and helpful tips when playing this summer. Get in touch by calling your local Child’s Play ELC or speak to us when you drop your child off for childcare.
Summer Safety Checklist
- Water Bottle
- Spray Bottle
- Activity Time
- At the beach swim between the flags when lifeguards are on duty
- Always keep close watch around water
- Feet first entry
- Restrict running around the pool
- Swimming lessons
- Wash your hands before touching any food
- Never cross-contaminate
- Consider the temperature and how long food has been left out
- Bug spray
- Never leave a child in a car
- Wear helmets
- Gardening tools