Summer Safety Checklist for Parents…From Our Top Paramedic

Attractive young beautiful girl drinking water from plastic bottlesSchool will soon be out, summer will officially be upon us, and the kids will be looking for things to do. All of these things are going to happen soon so it is time to break out the summer safety tip checklist to ensure that we not only have a fun summer but that we also have a safe summer. The two most common emergencies we encounter in summer time are heat related illnesses and water emergencies. Heat related illnesses can range from cramps and dizziness, to fainting and passing out. The key to heat illnesses is to stay vigilant with your kids and hydrate them. If you know they will be outside during the day, then they need to hydrate before, during, and after outside time. Stay aware of the signs of heat problems. Cramps, dizziness, dry red skin, and nausea are just some of the warning signs. If you encounter any of these heat problems with your children, please move them to a cool place with shade or air conditioning, and slowly cool them down with cool towels and water, and if the heat problems are causing your child severe problems, with breathing or blacking out, then call 911 immediately.

Water emergencies can range from falling off a boat to drownings in pools. The key to water safety and children is 100% focus with no distractions. Kids can drown in a very small amount of water and it can happen in what seems like a blink of an eye, so the best strategy is to never let them out of your sight when near or in the water. If your child does not know how to swim then swimming lessons can be a fun summer activity that lasts a lifetime. If you and your children will be on a watercraft of any kind, please remember to wear life-jackets at all times and obey the rules of the water. If your child is going to a summer camp with a pool or traveling to a pool then purchase them their own flotation jacket or shirt to take with them.

If your child is going to camp this summer, please take a little time and do your homework on the camp and its counselors. Finding out things like how many kids will be in the camp, what is the counselor to kid ratio, are all camp staff members certified in CPR, how is the camp set up? Is it near water? Etc. Asking questions like these will let you know how committed the camp is to your child’s safety. If your child is staying home during the summer, the questions are almost the same. Who is watching the child, do they know CPR, can they swim, will they have 100% focus at all times with your child, can they handle an emergency with your child like a fall or something more severe? Having an older sibling stay home and watch a younger one during the summer can both a blessing and gamble, so make sure everyone is clear about what is expected and what to do in an emergency.

The two things we always tell people are

– Nobody is drowning proof, and

– Hydrate hydrate hydrate.

Thank you and have a safe summer.

About the Author

Greg Atwood is a Firefighter /Paramedic in Coral Gables Florida and works for the Coral Gables Fire Rescue. He is an American Heart Association certified instructor in BLS ( Basic Life Support ), ACLS ( Advanced Cardiopulmonary Life Support ), and PALS ( Pediatric Advanced Life Support ). Greg currently lives in Miami Florida with his beautiful wife Alexa and their 2 sons, Connor and Jake. Greg is a former member of the PedSafe Expert team


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