Parents: 6 Lesser-Known Summer Hazards to Heed
Hot playground equipment, flying bouncy castles…don’t let your child get burned or carried away this summer
School’s out, and for your kids that means time at the pool, playground, water park, amusement park and maybe even camp. And sure, kids face more risks when they’re out having fun than when they’re sitting all day at a school desk. You probably know the most obvious ones, from drowning in a pool, ocean or lake to scooter injuries to simple sunburns, jellyfish stings and plain old homesickness.
But here are six that may have slipped your mind.
Moon bounces, aka bouncy castles
The inflatable party and festival fun that kids love can be more dangerous than many people think. They can cause broken limbs, or worse. Between 2003 and 2013, more than 100,000 children were injured in moon bounces and on inflatable slides, including 17,000 who ended up in the emergency room, according to a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) study. Here’s how to avoid a trip to the ER:
- Make sure little ones don't get mixed in with older, larger kids, advises the child safety group Kids in Danger.
- Check the bouncy house to make sure it’s securely anchored. In several recent incidents, a sudden burst of wind hurled the inflatable into the air — along with everyone in it.
With outdoor summer play come mosquitoes and ticks — and health risks. Eastern equine encephalitis, Lyme disease and West Nile virus are all bug-borne diseases transmitted to people. The ailments can have devastating effects on children. Take these steps to protect your child:
- Use DEET, in the right concentration. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) cautions parents to use repellants with DEET concentrations of 30 percent and below. The AAP also notes that you should apply bug sprays with the chemical permethrin to clothing and not skin. Avoid combo products that have both DEET and sunscreen.
- Wash bug repellant off your child at the end of the day.
- Check your kids for ticks when they come inside.
Related: How to Treat Bug Bites
We use all kinds of tools to keep our yards and gardens in shipshape. Mowing your lawn, trimming the hedges and sawing off dead branches can pose serious danger to kids if you don’t take these basic precautions:
- Don’t let your child operate a lawn mower until they’re 12 or 16 if it’s a ride-on mower. Make sure they always wear shoes (not sandals).
- Keep kids inside or under adult supervision whenever someone is running the mower. If the adult can't watch the children, shut the mower off if a child comes within 20 feet.
- Shut down power equipment such as chainsaws and trimmers when you’re not using them. And make sure the tools’ safety devices are always on.
Spending hours at the playground can be your child’s favorite summer activity. But under the warm sun — and even on days that aren’t that hot — playground equipment can be scorching. To prevent burns:
- Check the temperature of all the equipment in warm weather — and not just the metal slides and monkey bars. The CPSC suggests parents also monitor dark plastic and rubber surfaces that attract plenty of heat.
- Dress your kids in appropriate clothing, such as full-length pants and shoes (not sandals), to protect them from burns.
Every kid loves to play in the dark with glow sticks. But little ones may be tempted by the liquid inside. If the juice touches your child’s skin or eyes, it can cause irritation and even burning. To prevent injuries, safety experts recommend:
- Watch your child when he has a glow stick. Don’t let him try to break or suck it.
- Wash the liquid off your child with soap and water if it gets on his skin.
- If you see more serious symptoms, like vomiting or blisters, call the national poison hotline at 1-800-222-1222.
Sparklers may seem harmless enough, but they can reach 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to burn metal, according to the CPSC. Imagine what they can do to little hands and legs.
- Keep young kids away from sparklers.
- Don’t let kids get burned by used sparklers, which can stay hot after they’ve burned out; used sparklers should be dropped into a bucket of water.
Related: Fireworks: Don’t Try This at Home