Summer Safety Guide & Preparedness for Children

When summer arrives and school lets out, most children enjoy outdoor activities—swimming, biking, camping, and more. It’s a time when injuries ranging from playground falls and sunburns to accidents at the pool and the beach are more likely to occur. These tips for parents and caregivers are designed to help keep children safe and healthy during the summer months.

General Summer Safety Tips for Children

Maintain constant supervision of children in and around any water environment—pool, stream, lake, tub, toilet, bucket of water—no matter what skills your child has acquired and no matter how shallow the water.

Have children wear only U.S. Coast Guard approved life vests, also known as personal flotation devices (PFDs), on boats, docks and around deep or swift water.

Make sure children always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle or scooter, or are rollerblading or skateboarding.

Protect children from excessive sun exposure, especially when the sun is strongest, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Use sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Apply a thick layer all over your child’s body. Reapply every few hours.

Always supervise children when they use play equipment.

Always keep children away from lawn mowers in use. Never allow a child to ride on a mower.

Have children wear shoes and light-colored clothing to minimize the risk of bee and insect stings.

Use insect repellent sparingly on older children and never on infants.

Teach children never to eat or pick any plant without checking with an adult.

Call your nearest Poison Control Center, or if you feel the condition is serious, dial 911 immediately, if you suspect a child has been poisoned by a plant.

Always keep children away from barbecues, bonfires and lighter fluid.

Strap children in a properly-fitting seat belt, car seat or booster seat when traveling by car or airplane

How to Keep Children Safe Around Water

Always supervise children in or near water—pool, stream, lake, tub, toilet, bucket of water—no matter how shallow the water. A child can drown in just inches of water. Even children who have taken swimming lessons must be supervised.

Don’t rely on flotation devices and inflatable toys to replace parental supervision. These devices can deflate or slip out from beneath a child, leaving that child in danger.

Always have children use approved life vests.

Stay within an arm’s length of any infant or toddler who is in or around water.

Keep a cell phone with you at the beach; keep a cordless phone or install a phone by the pool so you can call 9-1-1 in an emergency.

Go over pool rules and general swimming instructions with children before you leave for the pool or the beach. Once you arrive, children may be too excited to listen closely.

Have children use the buddy system and explain how it works.

Don’t allow running or rough play around the water.

Encourage children to “Stop, watch and walk into the water.”

Teach children to swim at an early age.

Learn American Red Cross Infant/Child CPR and insist that babysitters, grandparents, and others who care for your child also know CPR.


Pool Safety

Did you know?

  • A child can drown in a pool in the time it takes to answer the phone.
  • A young child can drown in just inches of water.
  • More than 300 children under the age of 5 drown in residential swimming pools each year.
  • Drowning is the leading cause of injury death for children 1 to 2 years old.
  • Drowning is second leading cause of accidental death for Americans ages 5 to 44.