5 Tips for Keeping Children Safe on Memorial Day

This is the time of year when our readers from the northern states get to poke a little fun at us Floridians! Memorial Day is a great celebration of those who died serving our country, and also marks the beginning of summer. Everyone is breaking out their BBQs, bathing suits, and bicycles. In Florida, the sentiment is a little different.  Although we will use any excuse to celebrate and enjoy the beautiful weather, Memorial Day represents the beginning of the rain season, mosquitos, heat, and worst of all, humidity. Alison absolutely hates the summer season. She hates it so much, that I am not even sure if she will be hosting a BBQ this weekend! I guess Carrie is going to have take on the responsibility of cooking. We have a rule in my family, my job is limited to setting the table. Trust me, it is best for the health of all involved in the celebration.

We always see more children in the ER during the holiday weekends. Although Memorial Day is meant to be fun and relaxing, it can easily turn into a very stressful and dangerous situation with an increase in injuries such as bruises, broken bones, and food related illnesses. More importantly, there is also an increase in very serious and sometimes deadly injuries such as drownings, head injuries, and serious burns during this time.  So today we are talk about the necessary precautions you should take to ensure your child remains healthy and safe during your Memorial Day celebration.

The grill is for the dads, not for children.  People underestimate not only how dangerous a grill can be but also how dangerous the tools required to grill can be. It is imperative that children and pets are kept far away from the grill area at all times. A important tip is to declare a 4-foot “kid-free zone” around the grill. Make sure the children’s table is at a safe distance away from cooking areas, and that there are no toys or activities occurring in close proximity to the grill.  The accessories used to cook such as spatulas, food thermometers, tongs, and grill forks can cause deep cuts requiring stitches, and serious burns if hot off the grill. Please keep these items, and any gas, oil, charcoal, lighters or lighter fluid out of the reach of children. Hanging these accessories on the BBQ or placing them on a side table provides easy access and may result in serious injury.

Helmets are a must.  Children can’t wait to get out their bikes, scooters, and skateboards! For children living in the north, many of them haven’t been on a bicycle for an extended period of time. No child wants to wear a helmet, but I promise you it saves lives. It is your responsibility as a parent to ensure that your child is wearing a helmet and wearing it correctly. Head injuries are commonly caused by biking accidents and can result in very serious injury or even death. Never underestimate the importance of a helmet. Hoverboards are one of the most dangerous toys on the market today. Please keep this in mind over the holiday weekend.

Trampolines and bounce houses are dangerous. Every parent loves a good bounce house. It is easy and always a crowd pleaser. Unfortunately, they can result in serious injuries sometimes even requiring surgery. If you are going to have a bounce house at your BBQ, please make sure to maximize trampoline and bounce house safety by making sure the children are supervised at all times, and limiting the amount of children using them at one time.

Never underestimate the danger of a pool. It is important to understand that no matter how well your child can swim, he or she can panic and forget their skills within seconds. Never underestimate the danger of pools especially if there are a lot of children swimming at the same time. Drowning can be an extremely difficult thing to spot and children get overlooked when the pool is congested with people.  If you are hosting a Memorial Day celebration and swimming is involved, I highly suggest hiring a lifeguard to supervise the pool. A great tip is to go to your local pool and ask about hiring a lifeguard. Most of the time, they aren’t that expensive and trust me it is worth every penny. Please remember any swimming child that is under the age of 4 must be within arms length of an adult at all times.

Sunblock, Sunblock, Sunblock!  This should be every parents #1 priority when celebrating the holiday outside. UVA and UVB rays not only cause cancer, but sunburns are horribly painful and uncomfortable. Although sunblocks and sticks are imperative, physical barriers such as SPF clothing, umbrellas, and shade are equally as important. Please remember that children under the age of 6 months cannot wear sunblock, so if you are planning on spending the holiday outside with your baby, you must have shade. I love the portable pop-up cabana. It is perfect for your child’s nap and easy to carry and setup! Make sure to apply sunblock 15-30 minutes before getting to the beach and reapply every 45 minutes – 1 hour.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Memorial Day! See you next Wednesday.

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