One of the most important jobs you have as a parent is to keep your children safe. That can prove a challenge during the summer months with children out of school and with the increased heat. Accidents happen to all of us; however some accidents are preventable. Here are some guidelines that can help keep your family safe during the hot summer months.
Heat stroke occurs when your body cannot cool itself down quick enough. Children are even more at-risk. A child’s body heats up heats up five times faster than an adult’s, due to the fact that their thermoregulatory systems are not fully developed, causing them to absorb more heat and sweat less. More than half of child heatstroke deaths occur when a child is unintentionally left in a vehicle.
Even good parents make mistakes, but you can avoid them. Always check your backseat before you lock your car to ensure your child is not in the back. Keeping something next to your child’s car seat that you will need such as a purse or a briefcase can act as a reminder to check the back seat. Heat stroke can also occur when a child is playing hard but is too dehydrated to sweat. Make sure children are taking breaks and drinking plenty of fluids.
Playing in the water is a great way to pass a summer day. Parents should always be vigilant any time children are in or near water. Younger children are especially at-risk and can drown in as little as 2 inches of water. Always monitor children when they are around water and never assume that another adult is watching your child. Accidents sometimes happen when there are numerous adults present and they all assume someone else is supervising the children in the water.
It is summer, school is out, and your child wants to stay home alone. It can be hard to gauge when a child is ready to take this step. Always consult your local state and installation’s regulations regarding supervision guidelines; every location is different. At Quantico, you can leave a child home alone for a short period of time at the age of 9, but at Camp Pendleton, the minimum age is 12. Other things to consider are your child’s maturity level, decision-making ability, and knowledge about what to do in an emergency. Make sure to set up ground rules and expectations about safety guidelines for cooking, answering the door, watching television, and surfing the internet before leaving your child alone for the first time.
Contact your local New Parent Support Program if you have concerns regarding how to keep younger children safe. The New Parent Support Program is available for expectant parents and parents with children through age 5. Your local Family Advocacy Program can provide additional information regarding local safety and supervision guidelines for children.