young boy playing on a swing

Updated September 2020

Welcome to the warmer weather! As the kids are wrapping up the school year and getting ready for the pools to open and summer break to begin, we wanted to pass on a few safety reminders to keep everyone active and having lots of fun without any interruptions by visits to the doctor, urgent care or hospital.

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Water Safety

Drowning is one of the leading causes of death to children, and is the leading cause of death for those between the ages of 1 to 4 years old. Keep these things in mind to keep kids safe:

  • Watch children closely when in and around the water, with no distractions. Keep your eyes, ears, and concentration on what the kids are doing and keep younger children within arm’s reach. Always have one person assigned as the “Water Watcher” whose only job is keeping track of where the kids are and what they are doing in the water.
  • If you have a pool, spa, or pond and cannot locate a small child – check the water first.
  • Empty small pools, buckets, and bathtubs as soon as they are not in use and store them upside down.
  • Larger pools need to have a fence at least four-feet high surrounding all sides of the pool with self-closing, self-locking gates. A pool alarm is a great investment.
  • Keep a phone close to the water in case of emergency and learn CPR and basic water rescue skills.
  • Teach children how to swim. Every child is different so sign them up for swimming lessons when they are ready.
  • If you’re boating this summer, make sure everyone wears a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

Lawn Mower Safety

Gardening and yard work is often a family event – choose the activities your child joins in on based on their age and ability. Lawn-mower injuries are some of the most traumatic and life-altering.

  • It is never safe for a child to ride on a riding lawn mower – they are a distraction and can fall off and be caught under the rotating blades.
  • Mow the lawn when children are inside the house – they can quickly run into the path of the mower because they can’t be heard or can be hit by flying debris.
  • Children under 12 years old should not be operating a walk-behind mower and those under 16 years old should not be operating a riding mower.

Helmet Safety

Everyone is out on their wheels this time of year–bicycles, scooters, skateboards, etc. Remember to put your helmet on your head (no matter how old you are) before you get on those wheels to serve as a good example to your kids. And always make sure your children are wearing theirs. Helmets prevent almost 90% of head injuries!

  • Wear your helmet flat on your head – just above your eyebrows.
  • Buckle it snugly at your chin.
  • Straps should form a “V” at your ear – one in front, one behind.

Practice safety all year long, but especially during the summertime so the whole family can enjoy the outdoors as much as possible.

About Pediatrics

From nutrition to illnesses, from athletics to school, children will face many challenges growing up. Parents often will make important health care decisions for them. We hope to help guide both of you in that journey. UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh is a national leader in pediatric care, ranking consistently on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals Honor Roll. We provide expert treatment for pediatric diseases, along well-child visits, urgent care, and more. With locations across Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia, you can find world-class care close to home. We also work closely with UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital, a national leader in care for newborns and their mothers. Our goal is to provide the best care for your children, from birth to adulthood and beyond. Visit our website to find a doctor near you.