Friday, May 23, 2008

Summer Safety in the Summer Sun

Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe Outdoors
Summer break is right around the corner. Although water activities, bike rides, and summer sports entertain kids, unique toys have a role in summer fun, too. You should consider both fun and safety when looking at outdoor toys to occupy kids, says Elizabeth Werner, Chief Toy Officer for's parenting message board. Here are some ways to maintain fun while keeping your kids safe with summer toys and activities.
Parents can take all the necessary precautions, but if other children playing nearby are not employing the same safety practices, accidents may still occur. "I advise parents to be—and encourage their children to be—fully aware of their surroundings," Werner says. "If others in the play area, whether adults or children, are not following safe play habits, then it is best to change activities and return when the environment is safe."
Werner advises checking the age group recommendations on unfamiliar toys. Many recommendations stem from skill requirements but many more are based on safety reasons, she says.

Basic Safety Tips
  • Buy toys with umbrellas or canopies to prevent sun exposure.
  • Can't be said enough: Don't forget sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats.
  • Buy brands that you know and trust because quality toys come from better testing practices.
  • Always read warning labels. It can be tough to do with kids eager to play, but it might prevent injury.
"Parents should be sure if they have children playing together that are in different age groups to put away or separate toys that may be dangerous for the younger children," she says.
One of the best things that parents can do for their kids is to give them a safe environment in which to engage in creative, unstructured, and natural play. Some of the best activities are back-to-basics types: tag, hopscotch, hide and seek, kick the can, and Simon says. Lots of balls, jump ropes and hula hoops are good to have on hand as well.
Can parents be overly cautious? Sure, but it is a parent's job to protect children, Werner says. Each child is unique and parents must take into account their own child's skill, age, needs, and personality when deciding what summer activities and toys are appropriate. The guiding principle should be better safe than sorry.
"I know I am guilty of being a nervous mom now and again but we have to trust our instinct as parents," she adds.

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