School is out. Children are excited. Summer means lots of children will be playing outdoors and having fun, but it is very important to have a safety checklist to keep children safe. Remember, children are especially susceptible to heat.

Observe the tips below to keep your child safe:

Automobile Safety

• Never leave children (or pets) unattended in a vehicle.

• No playing in cars and trucks.

• ALWAYS check before leaving/locking car — some parents leave their purse on the floor near the car seat to ensure they retrieve it along with the child. YOU MAY SAVE A LIFE.

Sun Protection

• Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors. Use SPF15 or higher sunscreen. Reapply every 2 hours or sooner if swimming, sweating or toweling off. Look for shade whenever possible.

• Keep Them Hydrated — A child should drink a glass of water 1-2 hours before going outside and another glass 10-15 minutes before going out, even if they are not thirsty.

Helmet Safety

• If on wheels, wear the right size helmet. A helmet must fit properly.

Pedestrian Safety

• Teach children to walk, not run, across the street. Cross only at marked crossings and use sidewalks when possible. Always hold your child’s hand near parked or moving vehicles.

Water Safety

• Adult Supervision — always focus on children 100% of time.

• Use touch supervision, which means adult is within arm’s length of child being watched when near/in the water.

• REMEMBER — no child or adult is drown proof.

Outdoor Equipment and Vehicle Seats

• Dark seat interiors and car seats, metal seatbelt buckles can get too hot, and children may be burned in just one second.

Grilling

• Never let children near the grill. It remains hot even after everything has been cooked.

Bug Protection

• Use insect repellant — guard off ticks, mosquitoes. If using Deet, DO NOT spray on child’s hands, face, or possible ingestion — it is potentially deadly if swallowed. Before bedtime, wash off product to prevent overexposure to the chemical. An alternative to Deet are natural insect repellants.

Playground Fun

• Check out playground equipment for loose parts, etc. Surface on which equipment is set should be mulch, sand, rubberized or pea gravel to absorb the fall.

• Swing sets — Check equipment; keep tots at least 15 feet from swings.

• Under age 3 — If a child usually around 3 years old can safely climb in the swing and hold on, this swing is okay. Younger tots should sit in baby swings (6 months and up.)

• Slides should be in a shady area to avoid a hot slide that results in burns to the child.

• Shoes should be worn on playground equipment.

Nature Trails

• Avoid stagnant water — mosquitoes can fester there.

• Upon return home, check children for insect bites and ticks.

• Program your children’s pediatrician’s number into your cell phone.

• Always keep a bag for “just in case” — health snacks, Band-Aids, Neosporin, first aid items.

Happy Summer Fun!

(References: “Top 10 Summer Safety Checklist Tips,” Katherine Lee, 2012. “Summer Safety,” American Baby, 2009)

Great Summer Reads

• “I See Summer,” by Charles Ghigna, 2-4 years. The joys of summer — sailboats, seagulls and picnics.

• “Mouse’s First Summer,” by Lauren Thompson, 2004, board book. Join Mouse and Minka for a summer picnic and a stroll in the park.

Read aloud for 15 minutes — every child, every parent, every day. Plant the seeds that will sprout into language.