As school comes to an end and children are free to enjoy the carefree fun of summer, there are a few important talks that parents should have with their children before letting them loose.
The first is on the importance of helmets. Although helmets may take away from the Norman Rockwell like picture of children cruising through the neighborhood without a care in the world, helmets save lives -- but only if your wearing one. Reiterate to your children the importance of wearing a helmet EVERY time they are on a bike, skateboard, scooter, razor or anything else with wheels. Make sure that they take their helmet with them whenever they go over to a friend's homes to play. Also be sure that anyone babysitting for your youngster knows the rules and the importance of wearing a helmet.
The next important topic to make sure you review with your child is water safety. Children should always be monitored when swimming. Infants and toddlers should always be within an arms reach when in or near the water. Children should know that they need to have permission from an adult to enter the water. This is an important rule to enforce. If your child does not ask permission, he should know that he will have to get out of the water and will have a time-out.
Ideally, any pool your child goes to will be properly childproofed http://www.aap.org/family/tipppool.htm with a self-locking fence, but that unfortunately that is not always the case, which is why teaching children to ask permission every time they want to enter the water is a good habit to instill in them.
It is important that all children learn to swim but remember knowing how to swim does not mean your child does not need supervision in the water. Lastly, if your child does not yet know how to swim, you should make anyone watching your child, such as other parents or babysitters etc. aware of this fact.
The final topic to discuss with your child is one that many parents never even think to talk to their children about until they see them running across the street without a care in the world. Every year children are hit by cars while running to or from ice cream trucks. Children need to know that despite the fun music and lure of ice cream they need to follow the rules for safely crossing the street. For small children, they should always be holding an adults hand when crossing. Older children should be taught to look both ways and to always cross in front of the truck.
Talking to your children preemptively about summer safety will hopefully reduce visits to the doctor's or ER and allow them to have a fun filled vacation.