School is finally out for most of the country, and while kids everywhere are jumping for joy, some parents might feel weary about making sure their kids are safe while they’re outside all day. Trust me, there’s nothing to worry about as long as both you and your kids are on the same page. From the best storage techniques to precautions for ride-ons, following a few key tips will make sure kids are getting the most out of outdoor play.
I caught up with Joan Lawrence, Toy Safety Mom, from The Toy Association to give parents the best advice to keep kids safe while playing outdoors this summer.
Q. What is the biggest piece of advice that you have for parents when it comes to keeping kids safe during outdoor play?
JL: Whether in summer or winter, indoors or outdoors, adult supervision during playtime is absolutely crucial! While it might be tempting to let kids run free in the summer, we encourage parents to be especially vigilant when kids are playing near or in the water, such as swimming pools, at the beach, around “kiddie” pools, and so on. The same goes for driveways and streets with traffic. Keep toys away from these “danger” zones when they’re not being used, so children aren’t apt to chase a toy into an unsafe situation. All it takes is one second of distraction for a serious accident to happen.
Q. Often when kids are playing outdoors they’re being really active. What precautions should parents take before letting their kids hop on their bike, trike, scooter, or skateboard?
JL: Get their gear on! Helmets, knee pads, and other protective gear are a must when playing with all ride-on toys. Parents should set a good example by also wearing the appropriate safety gear when heading out for a family bike ride. Make sure kids are riding on smooth, paved surfaces without any traffic, and don’t let older kids ride their bikes at dusk, when drivers will have a hard time spotting them.
Q. What is the best way to store outdoor toys?
JL: You’ll want to keep your outdoor toys stored in order to prevent slips, trips, and falls. Having them organized helps you to keep tabs on anything that might need to be replaced or repaired. If you have access to a garage or outdoor shed, you can designate “parking” spaces for bikes and other ride-on toys, and store smaller items, like skateboards, chalk, and bubbles, in bins or on shelves.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like to add that parents should be aware of?
JL: Balloons are a blast, especially summer water balloon play. But many parents don’t realize that uninflated balloons and broken balloon pieces can be a choking hazard to young kids. So, whether your kids are cooling off with water balloons or they get one at a birthday party, be extra careful by clearing away deflated balloons and broken pieces so they don’t end up in the hands—and mouths—of little ones.
For more trusted advice about keeping kids safe while they play all year long, visit The Toy Association’s website for families, www.PlaySafe.org.
Laurie Schacht, also known as The Toy Insider Mom, has covered the toy industry for more than 20 years. The Toy Insider is a year-round resource for parents, grandparents and other gift-givers looking for the best toys for their kids. The Toy Insider also produces an annual holiday gift guide featured in Family Circle magazine. Visit thetoyinsider.com for the latest toy news, reviews, giveaways, and more.
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