“SAFETY FIRST” THIS is one of the top phrases that I use with our boys on a daily basis - especially in the summer. This season brings new activities or the increase in frequency of some activities. Most involved parents will dwell in a state of situational awareness but it's always helpful to have some reminders. With our sons, one sometimes understands what "safety first" means while the other doesn't yet, but I it's never too early to talk to children even if they do not understand.
Here is my summer list of safety firsts:
1. Berries! The blueberries in our backyard are starting to ripen and our firstborn is wasting no time to starting to sample them. We recently found some salmon berries that were perfectly ripe and the entire family enjoyed them. We LOVE berry picking but we remind our children often that they need to be with us or check in with Dad and Mom before eating any berries!
Terrific or toxic? Know the difference! Check this visual guide to Alaska's berries.
2. Bikes. Our oldest has his first push bike and he is mildly excited about it. We know that with experience and mastering the skill of balance and push he will want to do it more. Whether your child is riding in a bike trailer, pushing a bike, or riding like Dad and Mom, helmets should always be worn. I think it can be overkill in the bike trailer but starting the habit of helmets early is a good idea.
Whoa there, speed racer! You forgot your helmet!
3. Dehydration. Young bodies that like to move need liquids. Sometimes when we get involved with activities we get distracted and forget to keep fluids in our bodies and, consequently, our children do too. Let your child pick out a favorite water bottle and have him or her remind you to take it along. Our child enjoys reminding us of things and his memory is sharp!
4. Fire. Open fires are an obvious place for possible trouble. Contained fires such as BBQs and the metal that contains the controlled fire can be less so. We BBQ 365 days a year at our home and proactively keep little hands and feet at a safe distance, always diligent that the BBQ is never unattended with children nearby.
5. Light. Sun or no sun, long periods of time outside can still cause sunburn. It’s always better to be safe than to have an uncomfortable child who is not shy about letting you know what her/his discomfort, so make sure to dutifully apply the sunblock. Getting a child comfortable with putting on sunscreen will also make it easier when you make it out to a really sunny location where skin protection is a must!
Sun & water! Know where the life jackets are on big boats just in case.
6. Water. We find ourselves on docks, beaches, and marine vessels more often in the summer. Yes you know how it goes: Kids don't float! and most public access lakes and rivers have life jackets to loan if you don't have your own. Although life jackets are not required on ferries and sight-seeing boats it is always good to be informed as to where the children’s lifevests are located if the worst case scenario does happen.
Get outside and enjoy the extra light and opportunities Alaska has to offer this summer while making safety a priority with you and your family as you do so.