School’s officially out, which means it’s time for indoor activities and outdoor fun in the sun. During the summer, you may have more kids in the house, and for longer periods of time. It can be harder than ever to keep track of them at all times, and to stay calm during stressful times.
Keep Kids Safe During Summer Break
Tragedies can happen when parents are distracted and stressed. Follow these tips to keep your children safe this summer.
Master water safety
Accidental drowning is now the leading cause of preventable death for children under six years old in the Tampa Bay area. Eighteen children in the Tampa Bay area died from an accidental drowning last year.
The best protection against drowning is supervision at all times. Children can drown anywhere and anytime – in as little as 20 seconds, and in one inch of water.
Enroll your child in swim lessons, which are considered one of the essential layers of protection against accidental drowning by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Begin swim lessons as early as one year old, and look for experienced, qualified instructors that provide age-appropriate swim lessons.
Designate a “water watcher” to keep their eyes on children at all times when they are near water. Being distracted – by a phone or reading – for even a few seconds can be a fatal mistake.
Create safeguards that can help keep kids safe when they aren’t supposed to be near water. Install a pool fence with a lock and self-closing gate to prevent drowning by keeping kids from reaching the pool. Check existing pool fences for tears and damage – like a small tear that a child could fit through – that need to be repaired.
And install door alarms to be alerted when a child in your home goes outside. Most children who drown in a nearby pond or pool were last seen inside the house, and caregivers thought the children were napping or playing inside.
Practice safe stress relief
Abusive head trauma, or shaken baby syndrome, is another leading cause of death in young Tampa Bay children. Unfortunately, parents are most often the ones to cause injury to their baby.
Parenting can be very stressful, especially when a baby is crying. Shaking a baby in frustration when the baby won’t stop crying can be fatal or cause life-long injuries. Even one shake can be fatal or cause permanent brain damage.
Understand that crying is normal and try to sooth your baby by swaddling, cuddling, singing or going for a walk. If your baby’s crying becomes overwhelming, it’s ok to place your baby safely in the crib, then take a few moments for yourself to relieve your stress and calm down.
Make time for yourself by getting a trusted caregiver to watch your baby. Make sure your caregiver also understands that crying is normal, and if they need a break it’s ok to put the baby down safely for a few moments.
Call on community resources like 2-1-1 for support. Dial 2-1-1 for immediate access to expert resources who can help you with your feelings of stress, anger or loneliness.
Water safety and abusive head trauma prevention are two of the top preventable deaths among infants and young children in the Tampa Bay area. Keep these safety tips in mind, and the whole family can enjoy a fun and safe summer. For more information on how to keep your children safe this summer, visit www.preventneedlessdeaths.com.