Jumping on the trampoline at twilight and enjoying watermelon and fireworks. Playing sharks and minnows in the neighbor's pool or building castles by the seashore. Florida summer fun time fast approaches with long, hot days of splashing and playing the afternoons away both online and in Florida's eternal sunshine. So plan now for the most enriching summer experiences for your children. And take cyber, water and gun safety precautions to prevent injury, illness and in-a-flash mishaps.
Safe Swim: Train your Dolphins
Drowning is the leading cause of death for ages 1-4 in Miami-Dade. Children's Health recommends that pools have at least four feet tall fences and noodles and safety rings poolside. Designate a water watcher and non-swimming children should wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device and take a Learn2Swim class. Check out The Children's Trust Water Watchers or visit miamidadedrowningpreventioncoalition.org.
Protect Your Skin
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children apply at least SPF 15, broad spectrum UVA and UVB ray protection, applying an ounce per application, and use sunglasses with 100 percent UVA and UVB protection. And hydrate often when playing sports outside.
Some 37 children die each year from being left alone in hot cars. The Florida Department and Children and Families advises to " always check the back seat before you leave your car. Never leave your child alone in a car." And always strap children in a properly fitted car seat, booster seat or seat belt and visit the Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Miami for proper installation.
Parental Safety Patrol
Children can visit outschool.com for a wide world of enrichment, but also drift into a web of cyber-dangers. Know thy children's apps, says Erin Hahn in CNN, from TikTok to Snapchat. "Log in, scroll around and even ask your children to teach you about the platforms." Keep accounts private and don't let kids post photo avatars nor use real names, birthdate or address in their profiles, which are still public. "Do an internet search of your child's name of make sure there isn't anything you wouldn't want to be made public," says Hahn. Also, establish clear guidelines, maintain dialogue and teach children to spot red flags. Verywellfamily.com recommends the "Best Parental Control apps" for 2023.
Rocket and Roll--Bikes, Scooters and Fireworks
An average of more than 500 children with bike injuries are treated daily in US ERs so always wear helmets on bikes, skates and skateboards to prevent traumatic brain injury. And over 10,000 people in the US are treated in ERs each year from fireworks; parents read instructions carefully and never let young children light fireworks.
Children explore every nook and cranny in hide and seek playtime. So secure those firearms--the leading cause of death for children under 18 according to the CDC. And from 2016 -2021, there were 2,070 unintentional shootings by American children. In CNN, Johanna Thomas, associate professor of social work and creator of BE SMART, stresses dialogue on responsible gun storage, having recorded many stories of friends checking out a parent's gun and getting injured. Guns should be stored unloaded in a safe without ammunition. "Those safety measures are crucial because kids are curious," Thomas said. "We can protect kids, we can reduce a lot of gun violence, just by normalizing the conversation around firearms."