How parents can help their kids have summer fun — safely

WASHINGTON — One of the most dangerous times of the year for kids is when everyone’s having summer fun. 

“Medical professionals call it ‘the summer trauma season,'” parenting blogger Leslie Morgan Steiner said. “Dangers lurk, kind of, everywhere: on sidewalks, streets, driveways, our backyards and especially pools.”

Taking precautions, however, can be as easy as wearing helmets when riding a bicycle or skateboard, wearing a seat belt in the car and wearing a life jacket on a boat.

But kids do need to be aware of safety rules, Steiner said, and caregivers need to enforce them.

Car crashes and unintentional injuries, such as drowning, pose the highest risk to people 19 and younger, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Citing that statistic, Steiner recommended that parents talk about potential risks not only with people who may be caring for their children but also with kids themselves.

“Talk to older teens in particular about that fact that alcohol use and abuse makes all of these activities much riskier,” Steiner said. “Even things like suicide and self-harming — the rates are much, much, higher among teenagers who drink.”

Conversations for younger kids might involve the importance of using helmets, seat belts and life jackets. Steiner also said younger kids should never have access to any body of water without supervision — whether it’s a pool, a pond, a lake or the ocean.

Parents should also educate themselves about risk factors and best practices for how to help keep kids safe, Steiner warned. One good resource she recommends is the information provided online from the group Safe Kids Worldwide.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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