5 ways you can win Fourth of July safety
I love the Fourth of July! Summer is officially here, and people everywhere are ready to celebrate and have fun. The Fourth is a great holiday for parents because it can be fun while simultaneously being low key. No presents or heavy prep required. So have a great time, but as you head outdoors, let me remind you of a few safety issues for your little ones.
- Sunblock! Apply 30 minutes ahead of heading outside then reapply often. Use a cream or stick, avoiding sprays, and remember that zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the two preferred ingredients for children as they sit on top of the skin and are not absorbed. Don’t forget the tops of ears, hands, and feet!
- Helmets! Even our littlest tricycle riders need a helmet as they participate in the Fourth of July parade. The helmet should fit snugly, should not slide or move once on, and should be put on before getting onto the bike, scooter, or ride-on toy. Parents should model good habits by putting your helmet on as well.
- Water safety! Children should never, even for one moment, be left unattended around water. Designate an official lifeguard—someone who will remain within arm’s reach of a young swimmer and who is without any distractions. When swimming with children, put electronic distractions away. Pool fences should remain closed so that younger toddlers cannot access the pool without an adult, even if other children are already swimming. Children on boats should always have an appropriately sized life jacket on.
- Fireworks! Fireworks are not appropriate for children, or untrained adults for that matter. The days of sparklers are gone due to a serious burn risk, and we recommend avoiding backyard firework shenanigans. Stick with glow sticks after dark and let the professionals put on a show. Young children are often afraid of fireworks, so be empathetic and return indoors if they are upsetting to your child. There will be many years to come to watch firework shows—there is no reason to force the issue with a frightened child.
- Grilling and chilling! Remember to keep all little ones far away from grills, fire pits, and the like. If there is a hot surface nearby, assign someone to specifically keep all children away. Extinguish flames completely and cover all hot surfaces immediately once they are no longer needed to decrease the risk of backyard accidents. Keep all flames and grills a safe distance from your homes.