As the final school bells are ringing across the country, students are jumping for joy as they think about all of the fun activities they can do with friends this summer. As you prepare for trips and at-home fun, don’t forget to keep an eye on safety as well. Follow these five end-of-school-year tips to keep students happy and healthy during the summer months.
- Slow down while driving. Even if you’re not looking for yellow school buses to slow down or stop during the summer, it’s important to keep an eye out for kids who may be crossing the street more during the day. Look for warning signs as well, such as balls or rackets flying in the air or goals and baskets that may be used during games. Plus, remember that playgrounds and parks have speed limits that stay in effect all year.
- Plan activities with your kids Active kids with a plan tend to stay focused and out of trouble. Stave off the summertime lazy-day blues by creating projects with kids to keep them engaged with their favorite subjects and interests, whether that’s through a community recreation center, summertime youth group, local camp, or library reading club.
- Communicate with their friends — and parents. In some neighborhoods, it’s easy to let kids roam and play as part of a group, but don’t forget to keep the communication lines open. Friends should know the rules of each house, and parents should keep track of each other’s kids through a group text or messaging app. Importantly, this includes reminding kids about local emergency numbers, as well as road rules such as making eye contact with drivers before crossing the street and using marked intersections and crosswalks rather than jaywalking.
- Prioritize sun safety.One of the best parts of summer break is using the imagination to make up endless games in the backyard or splashing around in the nearby pool or lake. At the same time, kids and parents alike should remember to apply sunscreen every two hours, especially during peak hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Make sure kids have a water bottle handy so they can drink plenty of water, too, even if they’re just hanging around the backyard, says the National Safety Council.
- Don’t forget car safety. During the school year, yellow school buses are the safest form of transportation, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but you can keep your kids safe in the car during the summer by ensuring they’re always buckled up and in the right seats. In many states, those under 13 are required to ride in the back seat when it’s practical since it’s the safest place for children, according to Seattle Children’s Hospital. Importantly, don’t leave kids alone in a hot car, even for a few minutes, as doing so can lead to heat stroke. The inside of a parked car can reach up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit within minutes on a 78-degree day and 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes on a 90-degree day, according to the Occupational Health & Safety Magazine.