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Jul 17, 2023
8 tips for parents: Keeping children healthy and safe this summer
children playing outside with a sprinkler

Quick Take

  • Exercise can boost your child’s mood and improve their memory.
  • Even on cloudy days, make sure your kids are wearing plenty of sunscreen.
  • Make sure your kids stay hydrated.

Summer is here — a welcome break from school for children across the United States.

But, as kids spend more time outside, it is important to remember that their risk for injuries goes up. Research finds that emergency room visits spike around the summer months.


Consider the following:

We’ve put together some tips for parents, guardians, and caretakers to ensure kids having fun in the sun this summer are also staying safe.

1. Spend time outside to promote physical activity

Get your kids outside to get them active — and to add to the fun, invite friends and family.

Exercise has a ton of benefits. For example, it can boost your child’s mood and improve their memory. Just make sure you are using the right gear (i.e. helmets and knee pads when riding a bike or roller blading).

2. Apply sunscreen

Even on cloudy days, make sure your kids are wearing plenty of sunscreen — SPF 30 or higher. They should wear a hat and sunglasses, too.

While children rarely get skin cancer, sun exposure is cumulative, and childhood sunburns increase cancer risk later in life.

3. Keep them hydrated

Make sure your kids stay hydrated with lots of water breaks and snacks like watermelon or frozen juice pops. Limit sugary drinks and snacks and anything containing caffeine — those hurt, not help, hydration.

Kids need more water when they’re active — for example, 9- to 12-year-olds need eight 8-ounce cups of liquid each day when they’re sedentary, but they should drink 3 to 8 ounces every 20 minutes when they’re exercising.

4. Supervise children when they are swimming

When kids are keeping cool in or near water, make sure they’re always supervised — even if they’re strong swimmers or wearing floaties. On a boat, everyone should wear a life jacket.

Choose snug-fitting life jackets that fit correctly. When babies are in the water, always hold their heads.

5. Check for ticks

Check kids who’ve been outside for ticks, and be extra-careful when they were in or near the woods or in a grassy area.

If you find a tick, use tweezers to remove it, grasping it as close to the skin as possible and pulling straight up with steady pressure. Wash the site of the bite with soap and water, then swab with alcohol. Get in touch with a health care professional for next steps.

6. Make sure kids wash their hands often

Make sure your kids wash their hands often, and try to keep them dry. That’s because damp — or sweaty — hands — transfer germs much more easily.

If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

7. Don’t leave your children in the car

Never leave your child alone in the car — not even for just a minute.

In the United States each year, an average of 38 children under the age of 15 die from heatstroke after being left in a vehicle.

8. Keep kids away from fireworks

Don’t let children play with fireworks — including sparklers — and keep them at a safe distance.

In 2021 alone, nine people were killed by fireworks in the U.S. and about 11,500 people had to be treated in the ER.

By taking these small but meaningful steps, parents can ensure that their kids have fun this summer while staying healthy and safe.