School is almost out for the summer, and the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association and the Voice of Play want to help you get prepared for a season filled with sunny days, warm nights and lots of outdoor play. With this Safe Summertime Play Checklist, compiled from numerous reputable sources, you’ll be ready from the moment your child hops off the bus on the last day of school.
- UV protection – Kids don’t have to be at the pool or the beach to get too much sun. Protect against harmful UV rays anytime they’re outdoors.
- Limit time in the direct sunlight, especially during the peak hours of 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
- Always apply sunscreen before going outdoors. (Aim for a minimum SPF of 30 and don’t forget to reapply!)
- Eyes are also very vulnerable to the sun’s harmful rays. Find a good pair of sunglasses for your child to wear while outdoors.
- Healthy snacks and hydration – It’s easy to get caught up in the fun and forget to fuel, but providing healthy snacks and hydrating regularly allows kids to keep on playing!
- Children should drink 12 ounces of water before heading out to play, and remember to take water breaks every so often.
- Throughout play, make sure children are eating three healthy meals a day, with the occasional snack to replenish in between. For a creative twist on snack time, check out Parenting.com’s list of healthy kids’ snacks.
- Safety plan – We love play, but unexpected things can happen. Put a safety plan in place to make sure everyone knows what to do in any situation.
- Free play is necessary for a child’s growth and development, but be sure to discuss how your child can reach you, and what to do in an emergency.
- Include locations that are off-limits in your safety plan, including pools, lakes, etc., that have no adult supervision. Explain to your child why these are dangerous places to be when he or she is alone. The CDC offers a great resource to educate kids on water safety.
- Practice traffic safety and stranger safety with your children.
- Additional safety tips – Here are a few more tips to make your summer play extra safe for the whole family.
- Keep a first-aid kit on hand at home and in the car.
- Consider applying bug spray (especially at dusk) if mosquitos and ticks are prevalent in your area. If you find a tick attached to your child’s skin, the CDC offers a step-by-step guide on how to remove it.
- For sports or bike rides, remember all safety gear.
For more information on any of the aforementioned tips, check out our sources listed below. We wish you a safe and healthy summer filled with play!