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Useful Summertime Safety Tips

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

In anticipation of the warm summer months, the Massachusetts Departments of Children and Families (DCF) and Public Health (DPH) would like to remind families and caregivers with young children of useful summertime safety tips.

Infants, toddlers and young children (ages 0-5 years) depend on adults for their safety. Children this age like to explore, but are not aware of dangers. Three hazards in warmer weather involve falls from windows, water safety, especially around pools, and safety around and in cars. Simple safety steps can prevent injury.

Window Safety

Falls are the leading cause of injury to children, and falls from windows involving young children are especially serious. Window falls are preventable. Toprevent window falls, parents and caregivers should:

1. Be sure children are always supervised.

2. Lock all unopened doors and windows.

3. Keep beds, furniture and anything a child can climb on away from windows.

4. Open windows from the top, not from the bottom.

5. Install quick release window guards; screens do not protect children from falling out of windows.

Water and Pool Safety 1, 2

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Children have a natural curiosity and attraction to water. However, drowning is a leading cause of death among young children, both nationally and in Massachusetts. To help prevent water-related injury and drowning:

1. Whenever infants and toddlers are in or around water, an adult should be within an arm's length, providing "touch supervision."

2. Adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity while supervising children, not even for a moment. Do not drink alcohol while supervising children.

3. Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

4. Learn to swim. Be aware that the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend swimming classes as the primary means of drowning prevention for children younger than four. Constant, careful supervision and barriers such as pool fencing are necessary even when children have completed swimming classes.

5. Do not use air-filled or foam toys, such as “water wings,” “noodles,” or inner-tubes, in place of life jackets (personal flotation devices). These toys are not designed to keep swimmers safe.

6. Remove floats, balls and other toys from the pool after use so children are not tempted to reach for them.

7. Swim only in designated swimming areas.

8. Always swim with a buddy.

9. Select swimming sites that have lifeguards, whenever possible.

If you have a swimming pool at home:

1. Install a four-sided pool fence that completely separates the house and play area of the yard from the pool area. The fence should be at least four feet high. Use self-closing and self-latching gates that open outward with latches that are out of reach of children.