“Long stormy spring-time, wet contentious April, winter chilling the lap of very May; but at length the season of summer does come.” – Thomas Carlyle
Summer is practically here and what does summer mean to you? For me and my family, that means backyard fun! From barbeques and parties to backyard camping adventures! We all know being at home is safer than being out and about, but are you endangering your children in your very own backyard? Perhaps yes, perhaps not. Below a few summer safety reminders to help us relax at home for this hot season:
- Scouting. When your kids want to play in the backyard, do you inspect it first? Even though it’s our own home, animals you’d least expect can sneak in…especially in hot climates. Although we’d like to think our backyard is own personal space that’s always safe, it can be invaded. I’ve found snakes in my backyard, bird carcasses, animal droppings, etc. Keep your children safe from wild animals and disease by checking your backyard first before allowing them to venture out.
- Sunscreen. You didn’t forget about that, did you? We always seem to remember to lather our little ones up when we go to public water parks and theme parks, but what about everyday life? The fact of the matter is burns can happen anywhere and anytime, and they absolutely can happen at home. Just because you’re staying at home doesn’t mean you won’t get burned, so lather up!
- Water. Of course you know to drink water, but do you? When we’re at home, it’s easy to think “I can drink water anytime. It’s always available,” but when children are having fun, they don’t think to drink, so make sure your little ones are getting lots of fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Snacks. It may seem like a silly reminder, since of course you know to feed your children, but kids forget to eat when they play, and if they are playing in direct sun, they are more likely to get dizzy or sick from lack of energy (food).
- Pools. If you are fortunate enough to have a pool in your yard or any other water feature, I am jealous! Water is a great way to cool down in the heat, but still water can be dangerous. For example, baby pools can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes and remember that children can drown in just a few inches of water!
- Bug Repellant. Bug repellant isn’t just for camping or hiking. Bugs are everywhere, including your backyard! To avoid getting bug bites, spray your children with repellant. Products containing DEET work the best.
- BBQ. As the sun goes down, my family and I like to remain outside to barbeque and roast marshmallows. Although standard barbeque grills work, I love fire pit rings and grates. This way you and your family can sit around the fire together and feel a little heat (if you desire) and have a great cookout. This is also a great way to unwind from a long day and make your little ones tired. Just remember with fires, keep the area clear and free of flammable items. Never leave your fire pit unattended and always have water on hand as a precaution.
- Night Life. As it gets dark, it’s very easy to injury yourself, so try to keep walking paths free of items and make sure your backyard is well lit. If you do not have outdoor lighting, flashlights work too, and if you plan to camp out in your backyard, what camping trip would be complete without a flashlight or fire?
In the heat of summer, it’s easy to overlook some of these safety reminders at home, but as long as you remember the basics, your summer is sure to be fun today and everyday this year.
Karen Ho Fatt is an active aunt who teaches outdoor fire pit safety to families. She spends most of her summers at home telling stories around her portable campfire pit, but she also loves exploring the great outback.