Editor’s Note: This article was written by Our Small Hours guest poster Amy Patterson. Find out more about Amy below.
Safety Reminders for Outside Play
With the temperatures rising and the daylight hours extended, your kids are probably antsy to get outdoors and you’re glad to send them out to play. Not only is it good to get some fresh air after a long winter of being stuck indoors, but outdoor play is full of benefits for your children such as stronger immune systems, feeling happier and healthier overall, and encouraging creativity and imagination.
If done right, outdoor play can create lasting memories (like the ones you had decades ago) for your child. Sadly, if your child doesn’t engage in safe play, he or she is more likely to be injured or even killed in a preventable accident. Fortunately, as parents, you can teach your child how to play safely and avoid incidents that are otherwise preventable.
Dos and Don’ts of Safe Outdoor Play
Do: Encourage Outdoor Play
When the forecast for the afternoon looks perfect, encourage your kids to take a break from “screen time” and get outdoors. Even if the yard is a little muddy or your children protest, send them outside, the dirt will wash off and they will likely forget why they ever complained in the first place.
Do: Pay Attention to the Weather
A little rain, snow, and heat doesn’t really affect outdoor play, but you should pay attention to the weather when planning outdoor play. Extreme temperatures should be avoided for longer periods of time, but short periods of time (with proper clothing) may be okay. Closely monitor your children and use common sense such as don’t let them play outdoors when there is a threat of lightning and make sure they are hydrated and are wearing sunscreen.
Don’t: Leave Your Children Completely Unsupervised
Are you afraid of being labeled as a “helicopter parent”? When you send your children to the backyard to play, you don’t need to spend every moment with them, but they should be within your view at all times. Don’t use the opportunity to go run errands around town while your children play outside alone. If you won’t leave them home alone, don’t leave them outside alone.
Don’t: Allow Your Child to Play in the Street
Years ago, when you were a kid, you may have played a game of street hockey or rode your bike down the middle of the street. Just because you played in the street, doesn’t mean it’s safe for your children.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2013, 1 in every five children under the age of 14, who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians. A pedestrian death is a wrongful death case and can be easily prevented.
Teach your children how to cross the street safely and remind them that drivers don’t always look for children. If they must go into the street, to retrieve a ball or toy, instruct them to look both ways or ask you for help.
Do: Provide Proper Safety Gear
Whether your child is riding his or her bicycle or engaging in a group sport, make sure that he or she is equipped with proper safety gear such as helmets, safety pads, and the right footwear. In addition to having proper safety gear, make sure your child is engaging in age appropriate activities and understands how to play safely.
Author: Amy Patterson is an avid reader on trending topics and a freelance writer in her spare time. On the beautiful coast of North Carolina you will usually find her catching up on the latest news with locals or on the beach with her two kids. She loves to write pieces on family and parenting, but also writes about health and fitness as well.
Get support for parenting and connect with other moms – join us in our private Facebook group for Positive Parenting Support.