By Anne Mead
Each summer, families and their children look forward to the warmer weather, no more school and the freedom to have down time together. However, there are a few things to consider to keep everyone safe. As spring and summer bring new air, we often throw open our windows to let the fresh air in. Make sure that your window screens are secure; however, they should not be used as a barrier to protect children from falling out of a window. Most windows have warnings on them. Many local home goods or hardware stores have guards that can be fitted to the window to protect from falls while still allowing an adult to release them in the case of a needed evacuation.
Water play and swimming are great summer activities. With a few precautions, they can be safe activities for everyone. Make sure that where you decide to swim has lifeguards and is approved for the activities that are offered. The Leonard Foundation at http://www.stewietheduck.com/12watersafety.cfm can give you great tips on staying safe in the water. The Red Cross website at http://www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/water-safety has materials in both English and Spanish and more locally, the Regional YMCA of Greater Danbury has swim lessons in Brookfield. For more information, contact http://www.regionalymca.org/swim_lessons.html.
Bike riding, hikes and walks through the city are ways to maintain healthy habits and get exercise at the same time. Local hikes include Bear Mountain or Tarrywile Park. Anytime you are hiking or outside, don’t forget about the sunscreen and tick repellent. Check with your family doctor on his or her recommendation for the brand and do bodily checks for ticks and other bugs upon your return.
One of the items I am really conscious of is how to teach children safe ways to ride their bikes. Always wear a well-fitting bike helmet and learn the rules of the road. Go with the traffic, use hand signals when turning and beware of cars coming from different directions. Children also need to learn how to cross a street safely. Stop at the curb, look to the left, then to the right and look to the left again before crossing. Never run across the road and only cross at marked crosswalks. Wait for cars to stop for you. Don’t expect cars to stop once you are in the crosswalk.
Taking a good first aid and CPR Course is really necessary for families to be prepared for unexpected injuries. Knowing what to do in an emergency situation can save a life. Check with the Red Cross or other local first aid and CPR organizations for their class schedule. Have a first aid kit nearby that you can use, stocked with Band-Aids and other necessary supplies and make sure your cell phone is fully charged when heading out to an activity.
Summer is a great time for these activities and with a bit of preparation, they can all be done safely. Of course, coming from a school perspective, don’t forget about reading an exciting book daily under your favorite tree or in a swing. Enjoy the summer!!
Anne E. Mead, M. Ed., is the administrator for the Early Childhood Education and Extended Learning Programs of the Danbury Public Schools. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact her at 203-830-6508 or firstname.lastname@example.org.