Five Safety Tips That Will Make This the Best Summer Yet for Your Kids
With summer break on the horizon, parents around the nation are scrambling to figure out plans that will keep their kids entertained and safe. Thursday, May 25th is the last day of classes for the Houston Independent School District, and many other local districts will be ending their academic year soon.
Every family is unique in how they fill up the summer months. But one thing they all have in common is the desire to make sure it’s a time for kids to relax without worry. You want your children to spend more time in the sunshine, playing with friends and having fun. The difficulty lies in limiting as dangers as possible.
Midtown Houston understands your concerns about summer safety. We’ve put these suggestions together so you can enjoy some ease of mind while you’re busy with the responsibilities that don’t stop for adults:
- Avoid home alone. If work or other factors make it impossible for you to supervise, ensure that any necessary precautions are taken in limiting hazards and educating children about emergency procedures like 9-1-1. Devote an hour to researching summer youth programs and supplemental child care. In some households, a level-headed 12-year-old might be more mature than her 14-year-old brother, but on the whole any kid under eighteen may not have the skills or experience to deal with unexpected situations when they occur.
- Beware of stranger danger. Child safety experts and police have demonstrated that even the most well-coached kids might drop their guard and forget the rules when enticed by a stranger with a puppy or other incentives. Raising safe, savvy kids may mean you have to reinforce the “stranger danger” lesson frequently, including giving them a code word in case the stranger tries the ploy, “Mommy/Daddy said you should ride with me.”
- When on the road. Family vacations mean big adventures in new environments, and the excitement may cause a momentary distraction––one in which the smallest family member might get separated from you. The best way to combat this possibility is to designate a spot ahead of time where you agree to reunite in case of separation. Younger children might clam up and become timid under the stress of being lost. Equip them with a bracelet or a tag with parent names and contact numbers, just in case.
- Traffic and two-wheeling. In their haste to keep up with playmates on bikes, children sometimes forget the rules of the road. Houston has a helmet law for every cyclist under 17 because helmets decrease the risk of death or serious injury by a staggering 88%. Make sure every bike rider in your family knows the rules: ride with traffic, not against it. Teach them to use hand signals. Also, it’s a Houston law that bikes be registered in case of loss, something you can easily do for $1 at any fire station.
- Fun in the sun. The best place to beat the Houston heat may be the pool, but this is also one of the most dangerous of summer attractions. The American Red Cross offers swim lessons and water safety courses for children six and older, but many parents opt for private classes while children are younger. It’s never too soon to instill the basics of water safety. Children who are confident in the water are also more likely to have a good time and that’s what summer is all about.
Midtown Houston wishes you and your children a summer full of fun, adventure, family time––and safety first.