Summer has finally arrived which means your kids are bound for the outdoors. It can be exciting for kids and parents alike and a great opportunity to go swimming, picnicking or on adventures. This time of year is also a dangerous time of year as almost half of all injury-related deaths in children occur between May and August. Whether it be in the pool, on bike, out in the sun or in the backyard is always important.

Here are some tips to keep you and the kiddos safe over the summer recess.

Water Safety

At this time of year, drowning deaths among children skyrocket compared to the rest of the year.

–          Never leave your child alone in the water, even in shallow water. A child can drown in as little as one inch of water.

–          Enroll your children in swimming lessons. Some swim schools offer class for children as young as 6-months.

–          When out in the gulf, make sure that children wear Coast Guard-approved flotation devices when on a watercraft. But never rely on a flotation device to protect your child. Make sure there is an adult supervising your children at all times.

Sun Safety

We are fortunate enough to live in the Sunshine State, where sun shines year-round. But with all the time you and the kids will be spending outdoors this summer, it’s important to protect yourself.

–          Make sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB sunlight.

–          Cotton clothing has an estimated SPF of only 6, so even if your kids are going out wearing t-shirts and shorts make sure they are lathered up.

–          If you’re going in the water, apply your sunscreen about 30 minutes before hand. And don’t forget to reapply throughout the day.

Bike Safety

Nothing says summer like a nice neighborhood bike ride.  But bikes are not toys and can certainly cause injury. Don’t forget to:

–          Always wear a helmet. Head injuries are reduced by 85 percent when riders wear a helmet and other safety equipment like knee and wrist pads. It’s estimated that 75 percent of bicycle-related deaths could have been prevented with bicycle helmets.

–          When riding on the street, make sure kids understand all riding hand signals, ride with the traffic flow and stay as far right as possible.

–          Don’t let your kids ride unsupervised unless they’ve shown they can follow all the rules you’ve established.

Insect and Allergy Safety

As Florida residents we’re used to mosquitoes and Poison Oak. Here are a few tips to help make this summer itch-free.

–          If mosquitoes become a big problem in your backyard or neighborhood, make sure that there is no still water around as that’s where mosquitoes breed. If that doesn’t solve the problem, contact the Public Works Department Mosquito Control and they will treat your yard or neighborhood for FREE. Contact them at (813) 635-5400

–          When summer allergies flare, something as little as washing your hair after going outside can help stop allergy attacks.

–          Avoid activities that involve going through brush or heavy foliage. If you do find some sort of irritating plant (ie: poison oak, ivy or sumac) heat one cup of salt, one gallon of vinegar and eight drops of liquid detergent and spray on any plants you want to get rid of. Warning – this will kill any and all plants so only spray it on plants that cause irritation or allergies.