Be a superhero of safety

18 Aug 2016
POSTED BY Y Magazine

With school back and the cooler months on the way, it’s that time of the year when kids head back outside. Teach your kids a few simple rules to keep healthy and safe.

Whether it’s in the playground, camping, boating, swimming, biking or other fun activities, it’s all about the outdoors. There’s more chance of children having accidents, such as playground falls or coming off their bikes, when they’re out and about away from home.

This means your children should be made aware of the rules of safe outdoor play to become “Superheroes of Safety”.

“Sustaining a serious injury can be a life-altering event for a child,” says Jerry Gantt, chairman of the board of directors for Shriners Hospitals for Children, a US group that provides specialised care to children with health problems such as burns, spinal cord injuries and orthopaedic conditions.

“We see patients every day with injuries caused by accidents and we are committed to raising awareness about how to stay safe.”

Here are some tips from Shriners Hospitals for Children to help your family enjoy a fun, injury-free time outside:

Go Outside and Play

  • The physical and mental health benefits of outdoor play are great for children. They provide opportunities for exercise, creative expression, stress reduction and access to a free and natural source of vitamin D – sunlight. Before sending kids out to play, make sure they always wear shoes to protect feet from cuts, scrapes and splinters, and wear sunscreen to protect them from sunburn and harmful ultraviolet rays.

Playground 101

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States have reported that emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children aged 14 and younger every year for playground-related injuries. Before your kids head to the playground, keep these precautions in mind:

  • Choose parks and playgrounds that are appropriate for their age and offer shock-absorbing surfaces.
  • Teach children that pushing and shoving in the playground can result in accidents and injuries.
  • Remind kids to go down the slide one at a time and to wait until the slide is completely clear before taking their turn. Teach them to always sit facing forward with their legs straight in front of them and never to slide down headfirst.
  • Remind children to swing sitting down. Encourage them to wait until the swing stops before getting off and to be careful when walking in front of moving swings.

Make a Safe Splash

While playing poolside may be a blast, Safe Kids Worldwide reports that drowning is the leading cause of injury-related deaths for children aged one to four and it is the third-leading cause of injury-related deaths among those under 19.

Prevent accidents and injuries with these tips to ensure your family’s safety around water:

  • Instruct children never to swim alone or go near water without an adult present.
  • Give children your undivided attention when they are swimming or are near any body of water.
  • Always jump in feet first to check the depth before diving into any body of water.
  • Never dive in the shallow end of the pool or into above-ground pools.

Fun on the Water

Boating, tubing and other water sports can be great fun but can also be dangerous. According to the US Coast Guard, nearly 71 per cent of all boating fatalities are drownings; 85 per cent of which are a result of failing to wear a life jacket. Here is what you can do to enjoy the water safely:

  • Always have children wear a properly-fitted life jacket while on a boat, around an open body of water or when participating in water sports.
  • Educate yourself. According to the US Coast Guard, 86 per cent of boating accident deaths involve boaters who have not completed a safety course.
  • Always check water conditions and forecasts before going out on the water.   

Fire Safety Simplified

According to the US Centers for Disease Control, 126,035 children aged 19 and under were seen in emergency rooms for fire and burn injuries in 2013. Use these tips to keep children safe around fires, fireworks, grills and other sources of heat:

  • Teach kids never to play with matches, petrol, lighter fluid or lighters. Make a habit of placing these items out of reach to young children.
  • Do not leave children unattended near grills, campfires, fire pits or bonfires. Always have a bucket of water or fire extinguisher nearby whenever there is an open flame.
  • Take your child to a doctor or hospital immediately if he or she is injured in a fire.
  • Leave fireworks to the professionals.

To see more tips, find activity pages and learn how to become a Superhero of Summer Safety, visit

* Family Features

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