This post was originally published on June 12, 2014. It was updated on February 28, 2020.
Remember how amazing the outdoors were as a kid? It seemed like you had an endless amount of time for adventures and exploration. But do you also remember how much trouble you got yourself into?
For the most part, getting into trouble is a natural part of childhood. Unfortunately for parents, times have changed, and there are more things to be concerned about than ever before.
That’s why it’s important to stress the importance of safety with your kids, especially while they’re outdoors. Before you let your children loose in nice weather, sit down and talk about these safety tips for their next adventure.
1. Establish safe play areas
Let your kids know the street is not a safe area to be, even if their toy or ball goes there. The younger the child is, it’s best to limit their play area to the front or backyard at first, and expand it as the child gets older. Using an outdoor security camera, you can record safe play areas and key an eye on kids through live home security footage.
2. Never speak to strangers
No matter how friendly someone seems, children should never speak to or go anywhere with a stranger. If a stranger approaches them, they should run away or head inside.
3. Never wander off alone
Remind younger children to always stay within range of supervision. Older kids hanging out with friends should remain with the group. Smart door locks can track when kids come in and out of the house so you always know if they are inside or outside.
4. Be aware of surroundings
Common play areas like a field or a playground can hold hidden safety hazards, so it’s important to examine these areas before playing in them. Keep an eye out for sharp objects, broken glass, and other dangers. When playing outside children should wear shoes to protect their feet from safety hazards hidden in grass or dirt surfaces.
5. Be mindful of the rainy weather
Kids should not play outside on days forecasted to have thunderstorms. Even sunny days can experience a rapid, unexpected weather change. If the weather does change drastically, children should return home or seek shelter—not under a tree.
It’s more important than ever to protect your skin from the sun, and applying sunscreen is one of the easiest ways to do it. Remember that sunscreen needs to be reapplied often, especially if you’re at the beach or pool, or if you’re sweating. Protective clothing works great as well.
7. Remember to hydrate
It’s almost guaranteed that children playing outdoors are going to sweat profusely. Teach them about the dangers of dehydration and the importance of replenishing with water—not sugary drinks.
8. Wear proper clothing and equipment for the sport or activity
Thin-layered, long-sleeved clothing is ideal for outdoor activities. It allows for breathability while still protecting against the sun, bugs, scratches, and more. When going for a bike ride, always wear a helmet.
9. Apply bug spray when needed
For older, adventurous kids who are hiking through the woods, bug spray is a necessity. Ticks, in particular, carry harmful diseases, such as Lyme disease. After spending a day in the outdoors, always check for ticks.
10. Never consume anything found outdoors
Children are naturally curious, and they might come across berries, plants, or mushrooms while outdoors. Let them know that despite what they might have seen on TV, it’s not safe to eat anything they find in the wild.
We hope you and your kids have a safe and wonderful summer! Share any additional outdoor safety tips you might have in the comments below!
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