Summer Safety Tips for Olympia Families

summertime safety kids
Keep an extra eye on kids this summer and make sure they are hydrated and have plenty of sunscreen.


By Kathryn Millhorn

summertime safety kids
Keep an extra eye on kids this summer and make sure they are hydrated and have plenty of sunscreen.

“Remember even though the outside world might be raining, if you keep on smiling the sun will soon show its face and smile back at you,” promised actress Anna Lee. But rain or shine, summer’s freedoms can mean extra bumps, bangs, and bruises.

While the majority of summer pains are easy enough to spot and fix, some have sneakier symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages parents to be extra mindful indoors and out; for example “play it safe on the playground. Each year in the United States, emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children aged 14 and younger for playground-related injuries.”

Older kids refusing to unplug? The CDC offers resources to spot, prevent, and counteract what they refer to as ‘electronic aggression’ or cyberbullying. According to their research, “Increasing numbers of adolescents are becoming victims of this new form of violence—electronic aggression. Research suggests that 9% to 35% of young people report being victims of this type of violence.”

Hopefully summer vacation means a continuation of our recent glorious weather. But even cloudy days merit sunscreen. Dermatologists report that “partly cloudy days can be misleading; you believe you are protected from the sun’s rays when behind the cloud but you may, in fact, be getting stronger UV rays because they are bouncing off the clouds.” Make sure to keep sunscreen handy and apply it every two hours. Also, don’t forget sensitive spots like ears, the back of your neck, and the tops of your feet.

Distracted by newfound freedom and gorgeous weather, kids often forget to stay hydrated. In their list of summer safety tips, warns “Do not wait until a child says he is thirsty before offering fluids. At this point, he is already dehydrated, so be sure to provide plenty of fluids before going outside, while out in the heat and afterwards.”

bike ride olympia
Bike riding is a popular summertime activity. Plop on the helmet, lace up the sneakers and head out on the trails.

Riding your bikes together is easy, fun family fitness. Choose one of our region’s many gorgeous, kid-friendly parks, trails, or routes. But before setting out, don’t forget helmets for the entire group. The American Academy of Pediatrics stresses that “Your child needs to wear a helmet on every bike ride, no matter how short or how close to home. Many injuries happen in driveways, on sidewalks, and on bike paths, not just on streets. Children learn best by observing you. Set the example: Whenever you ride, put on your helmet.”

Locally Capital Medical Center provides newsletters full of helpful tips and tricks. One recent issue dealt with summer camps: “Preparing your child for the start of camp can help ease the transition and make your child feel more secure.” Their advice included teaching kids their full name, address, and home phone number and practicing buttons and zippers for easy changes.

Paula Rauen, Executive Director for the downtown Olympia Free Clinic, shares that their “most common treatments in the summer are for respiratory problems, aches and pains, and poor diet related sickness.” She shares that “protections forgotten in the summer are sunscreen and staying hydrated” and her easiest “health advice for all ages is to exercise.” If medical attention is needed, clinics like theirs are ideal for “minor issues and non-emergent conditions.”

Summer also has it’s seasonally specific hazards. Nationwide Children’s Hospital warns that “If you leave windows open during the summer, remember that screens will not prevent falls.” They also address the 4th of July assumption that “even sparklers, which some parents think are ‘safe’ for kids, can reach temperatures of 100 degrees F and easily ignite clothing.”

Grilling your dinner for an outside picnic? “Never let children near the grill. Remember, it can remain very hot even after it is no longer being used,” reminds

If you’re unsure about a potential medical issue, Capital Medical Center offers some advice: “Millions of consumers get health information from magazines, TV or the internet. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s not easy to separate the good from the bad, the accurate from the biased, or the research from the ads. You want to make sure you are finding the most current, unbiased information that is based on research…Never forget that it is vital—after carefully considering the source of the information—to discuss it, along with your medical history and any symptoms, with your health care provider.”

But this isn’t a season of doom and gloom, even if accidents happen. By using little preventive measures, summer can be a truly glorious season – especially when there’s ice cream involved.

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