6 Summer Safety Tips for Babies and Kids

Summer is a time for fun and outdoor adventures, but it also brings unique challenges and potential hazards for babies and kids. Ensuring their safety involves being proactive and prepared. Here is an in-depth guide to keeping your children safe during the summer months, covering essential tips in detail.

1. Sun Protection

Protecting and preventing sunburn in babies from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays is crucial. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30. Apply it generously to all exposed skin areas 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours, or more frequently if swimming or sweating. Remember that some sunscreens are water-resistant, but none are waterproof.

Dress children in lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and long pants made of tightly woven fabric. Consider purchasing clothing with a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating, which offers additional protection. Wide-brimmed hats protect the face, neck, and ears, while sunglasses with UV protection shield the eyes.

To minimise direct sun exposure, plan outdoor activities in the early morning or late afternoon. When the sun is at its peak (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), find or create shaded areas. Use umbrellas, tents, or canopies during picnics or beach outings.

2. Hydration

Children can become dehydrated quickly, especially when active in the sun. Encourage frequent water intake. Provide a reusable water bottle and remind them to drink even if they don't feel thirsty. Infants should be breastfed or given formula more often.

Be vigilant for signs of dehydration, which include dry mouth, absence of tears when crying, sunken eyes, and decreased urination. Babies may show additional symptoms like a lack of wet diapers for three hours or more and a sunken soft spot on the head.

Limit or avoid giving sugary drinks and sodas, which can contribute to dehydration. Offer water or diluted fruit juices instead. For infants, stick to breast milk or formula unless advised otherwise by a pediatrician.

3. Heat Safety

Dress children in light, breathable clothing made from natural fabrics like cotton. On hot days, keep activities indoors where it's cooler or in air-conditioned environments. Avoid overdressing infants, and keep their sleeping areas cool and well-ventilated.

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke are serious risks. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, nausea, and headache. If untreated, it can lead to heatstroke, a medical emergency characterized by a high body temperature, confusion, loss of consciousness, and rapid pulse. If you suspect heatstroke, seek immediate medical help.

Never leave children unattended in a car, even for a few minutes. The temperature inside a parked car can rise rapidly, leading to heatstroke or death. Always check the back seat before leaving your car.

4. Water Safety

Active supervision is the most crucial aspect of water safety. Always stay within arm's reach of young children around water, whether it's a pool, lake, or even a bathtub. For older children, keep a close eye on them and avoid distractions like reading or using a phone.

Equip children with properly fitting, Coast Guard-approved life jackets when near or in water. Even if a child knows how to swim, a life jacket provides an additional safety layer. Ensure the jacket fits snugly and is worn correctly.

Enroll children in age-appropriate swimming lessons. Knowing how to swim can prevent drowning, but it doesn't replace the need for supervision. Teach children about water safety rules, such as not swimming alone and not running near pools.

If you have a pool at home, install barriers such as fencing at least four feet high with self-closing and self-latching gates. Use pool covers and alarms to add extra layers of protection. Ensure pool drains are covered to prevent entrapment.

5. Bug Safety

Protect children from insect bites using insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. For children over 2 months old, DEET is safe in concentrations up to 30%. Apply repellent to clothing and exposed skin, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth.

In areas prone to mosquitoes and ticks, dress children in long sleeves and pants. Tuck pants into socks and consider treating clothing with permethrin for added protection. Light-colored clothing makes it easier to spot ticks.

After spending time outdoors, thoroughly check children for ticks, focusing on areas like behind the ears, along the hairline, under the arms, and in the groin. Remove ticks promptly with fine-tipped tweezers, grasping the tick close to the skin and pulling upward with steady pressure.

Keep children indoors during peak mosquito activity times, typically dawn and dusk. Use mosquito nets over strollers and beds if needed. Maintain your yard by removing standing water where mosquitoes breed and keeping grass and shrubs trimmed to reduce tick habitats.

6. Playground Safety

Before allowing children to play, inspect playground equipment for hazards such as sharp edges, hot surfaces, and loose or broken parts. Ensure that surfaces under playground equipment are made of soft materials like rubber mats, wood chips, or sand to cushion falls.

Educate children about playground rules, such as no pushing, shoving, or crowding on equipment. Teach them to use equipment properly—for example, sliding feet first and not climbing outside railings. Supervise them to reinforce these rules.

Playground equipment can become extremely hot in the sun, posing burn risks. Check surfaces before allowing children to play. Provide regular water breaks and ensure they rest in shaded areas to avoid overheating.

Seasonal allergies can be bothersome. Keep windows closed during high pollen times and use air conditioning. Administer allergy medications as prescribed. For children with severe allergies, carry an epinephrine auto-injector and know how to use it.

When children ride bicycles, skateboards, or scooters, ensure they wear helmets that fit properly. Elbow and knee pads provide additional protection. Teach them to ride in safe areas away from traffic and to follow road safety rules.

Educate children about avoiding plants like poison ivy, oak, and sumac. Learn to recognize these plants and stay on designated paths during hikes. If contact occurs, wash the skin immediately with soap and water.

During picnics and barbecues, ensure food is stored and cooked at safe temperatures to prevent foodborne illnesses. Keep perishable foods in a cooler with ice packs and cook meats to recommended temperatures. Teach children to wash hands before eating, especially after playing outside.


Summer offers endless opportunities for fun and adventure for children. By being proactive and informed, you can ensure their safety and well-being. From protecting against the sun and heat to ensuring water and playground safety, these comprehensive tips will help you create a safe and enjoyable summer experience for your little ones. Always prioritise supervision, use appropriate protective gear, and stay vigilant about potential hazards.

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