Water, bugs, and the sun, are a few of the things kids experience more of in the summertime. For parents and others, extra vigilance is required to prevent injury and keep kids safe and healthy. Here are a few tips to help parents practice prevention, for their children’s health.

Raise Awareness

Keep kids’ safe – home alone.
Every parent eventually faces the decision to leave their child home alone for the first time. Whether you are just running to the store for a few minutes or are working moms and dads, parents need to be sure their children have the skills and maturity to handle situations safely. Children face real risks when left unsupervised. Those risks, as well as a child’s ability to deal with challenges, must be considered.

Prevent cyberbullying.
Youth can use electronic media to embarrass, harass or threaten their peers through email, a chat room, instant messaging, a website (through blogs), or text messaging. Increasing numbers of teens and pre-teens are becoming victims of this new form of violence. Like traditional forms of youth violence, electronic aggression is associated with emotional distress and conduct problems at school. Learn strategies for protecting children from this type of violence.

Keep your kids tobacco free.
Despite the impact of movies, music, and TV, parents can be the GREATEST INFLUENCE in their kids’ lives. Talk directly to your child about the risks of tobacco use; if friends or relatives died from tobacco-related illnesses, let your kids know. If you use tobacco, you can still make a difference. Your best move, of course, is to try to quit. Meanwhile, don’t use tobacco in your children’s presence, don’t offer it to them, and don’t leave it where they can easily get it.

Talk early and often about alcohol and drugs.
Start having conversations about your values and expectations while your child is young. Your child will get used to sharing information and opinions with you. Knowing the facts will help your child make healthy choices.

Prevent teen dating violence
Did you know that in the past 12 months, one in 10 teens report being hit or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend at least once? And nearly half of all teens in relationships say they know friends who have been verbally abused. Dating violence can have a negative effect on health throughout life. Victims of teen dating violence are more likely to do poorly in school, and report binge drinking, suicide attempts, physical fighting and current sexual activity. Before violence starts, a teen may experience controlling behavior and demands. That’s why adults need to talk to teens now about the importance of developing healthy, respectful relationships.

Know asthma triggers.
An asthma attack is when you have trouble catching your breath. Many different asthma “triggers” can cause this to happen. Knowing some common triggers such as tobacco smoke, dirty air outside, bad weather, and hard exercise that makes you breathe fast can prevent asthma attacks. Speak with your health care provider about making a plan that can help control your child’s asthma.

Develop a family disaster plan.
Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for disaster. Explain the dangers of fire, severe weather, and earthquakes to children. Plan to share responsibilities and work together as a team. Discuss the types of disasters that are most likely to happen. Explain what to do in each case.

Prevent Injury

Water safety.
When most of us are enjoying time at the pool or beach, injuries aren’t the first thing on our minds. Yet, drownings are the leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1 to 4, and three children die every day as a result of drowning. Parents can play a key role in protecting children from drowning.

Boat safely.
Recreational boating can be a wonderful way to spend time with family and friends. Making boating safety a priority can ensure that it stays fun. By wearing a life jacket, you can dramatically decrease your chances of drowning while boating.

Child Passenger Safety: Make sure the ones you love are safe and secure—all the time, on every trip.
In 2008, about 4 children ages 14 or younger were killed in motor vehicle crashes every day, and many more were injured. But parents and caregivers can make a lifesaving difference. Whenever you’re on the road, make sure your child passengers are buckled into appropriate safety seats. The safest place for children of any age to ride is properly restrained in the back seat. Children ages 12 and younger should always be buckled up and seated in the rear seat of vehicles. Infants in rear-facing car seats should never ride in the front seat of vehicles with airbags. Learn all you can do to keep your most precious cargo safe and locate a car inspection station in your area.

Play it Safe. Prevent concussions.
There are things you can do to help lower the risks for concussion and other injuries. A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. Concussions can occur in any sport or recreation activity. Learn concussion signs and symptoms and what to do if a concussion occurs.

Prevent falls.
Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries for all children ages 0 to 19. Every day, approximately 8,000 children are treated in U.S. emergency rooms for fall-related injuries. This adds up to almost 2.8 million children each year. Many falls can be prevented, and parents and caregivers can play a key role in protecting children.

Prevent burns.
Every day, 435 children ages 0 to 19 are treated in emergency rooms for burn-related injuries and two children die as a result of being burned. Younger children are more likely to sustain injuries from scald burns that are caused by hot liquids or steam, while older children are more likely to sustain injuries from flame burns that are caused by direct contact with fire.
Thankfully, there are ways you can help protect children from burns.

Keep teen drivers safe.
Discuss your rules of the road with your teen. Talk about why they are important to follow, as well as consequences for breaking the rules. Work with your teen to draft and sign a parent-teen driving agreement. You may choose to hang yours on the refrigerator door to highlight the importance of safe driving. Let your teen know that following the rules and driving safely will result in greater driving privileges.

Prevent childhood lead poisoning.
Lead poisoning is entirely preventable. The key is stopping your child from coming into contact with lead and treating children who have been poisoned by lead. Lead-based paint and lead contaminated dust are the main sources of exposure for lead in U.S. children. Learn ways to reduce children’s exposure to lead poisoning.

Promote Health

Prevent too much sun.
Just a few serious sunburns can increase your child’s risk of skin cancer later in life. Kids don’t have to be at the pool, beach, or on vacation to get too much sun. Their skin needs protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays whenever they’re outdoors.

Have a healthy home.
Stay smart around the house. Get smart tips on fire prevention, microwave use, and living with pets. Parents can also take many actions to protect their children’s health and safety. At a very young age, children develop the habits and behaviors that will influence their lifelong health.

Keep cool in the heat.
Take steps to prevent heat-related illnesses, injuries, and deaths during hot weather. People who are at highest risk are the elderly, the very young, and people with mental illness and chronic diseases. But even young and healthy people can get sick from the heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather. Never leave infants, children or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.

Be active.
Youth gain physical and mental health benefits when they participate in regular physical activity. Regular physical activity in childhood and adolescence improves strength and endurance, helps build healthy bones and muscles, helps control weight, reduces anxiety and stress, increases self-esteem, and may improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Positive experiences with physical activity at a young age also help lay the basis for being physically active throughout life.

Eat healthy foods.
You can help children learn to be aware of what they eat by developing healthy eating habits, looking for ways to make favorite dishes healthier, and reducing calorie-rich temptations. To help your child maintain a healthy weight, balance the calories your child consumes from foods and beverages with the calories your child uses through physical activity and normal growth.

Get immunizations.
Vaccines aren’t just for babies. As kids get older, the protection provided by some of the vaccines given during childhood can begin to wear off. Older kids can also develop risks for certain infections as they enter the preteen and teen years. The preteen and teen vaccines not only help protect them, but also their friends, community and family members. Also, make sure that children’s vaccinations are up to date. When traveling with children, outside of the country and for recommendations for specific countries, don’t forget to check the destinations page for the region you are traveling to.