Thursday, June 14, 2012

Backyard Safety: Keep Watch & Prevent Illness and Injuries

In the comfort of our own homes, it’s easy to forget that our children could be at risk for injury or harm. When were at home or our friends’ homes, we’re in our own comfort zones, which means we are more relaxed and calm, which can be a dangerous combination for our children. 

A few years ago I attended a pool party. A pool party seems harmless enough, doesn’t it? There were several adults and children present. The adults congregated around the deck to mingle and smoke hot dogs on a fire pit while all the kids swam in the pool playing a variety of games, including Marco Polo. I can still remember hearing those shouts, “Fish out of water!”

There were probably at least twenty adults outside drinking and barbequing on the fire pit and a handful inside enjoying the air conditioning. In general, most adults were within ten feet of the pool and with so many adults present, you would assume someone, anyone, was watching the children, right? Wrong…

As I listened to a story, I suddenly heard a loud bang. It was the sound of a door crashing into the wall. I turned and saw my uncle running full speed out of the house. He jumped over the patio fence and dove into the pool fully clothed. A child was at the bottom of the pool...No other adults had noticed even though we were all only a few feet away. None of the other children had noticed either since they were too caught up in their competitive game of Marco Polo.

It wasn’t until my uncle surfaced with the child did the panic set in. This child was a good swimmer and about six years old, but he almost died that day. Luckily, he didn’t because my uncle just happened to see from the second story window of the house that a child was at the bottom of the pool, not moving.

In this situation, I think everyone assumed someone else was watching, but no one was. So as a safety reminder when you’re in your backyard or anywhere for that matter, never assume someone is watching your kids unless they specifically indicate they are or will watch them in your absence. No one wants to lose a child, so don’t put your child at risk.

In addition to being 100% certain your child is being supervised at all times, remember these summer safety tips: 
         Always wear sun block. Even on cloudy days, sunburns still occur and they occur often. Prevent peeling skin, premature aging and cancer by applying sun block to your little one every few hours.
         Always have plenty of water and snacks on hand and make sure your child is actually eating and drinking. We can’t rely on children to feed themselves since when they are having fun, fun always comes first.

         Practice fire safety. If you use camp fire pits in your backyard like me, make sure the fire is always attended and never allow children to get closer than three feet from the flames, unless they are directly assisted by an adult.

         Always check your backyard thoroughly before allowing your children to play outside. Even in our own backyards, surprises can happen! I found a mouse carcass once, so keep your eyes peeled for other traces of animal activity like droppings, snake holes, etc. Most kids are explorers at heart, so the last thing we want is our children to stick their hands in snake hole or eat droppings. 

We all know summer is about having fun with our families, but when we have fun we sometimes forget safety. Before your next backyard party or outing, remember these easy safety reminders to ensure your day is fun and free of harm. 

As Rosalynn Carter once said, “There is nothing more important than a good, safe, secure home.”

Author Bio
Karen Ho Fatt is an outdoor enthusiast who loves using her camping propane fire pit whether she is at home with family cooking marshmallows or out in the woods. You can read reviews at her website on different campfire rings for sale and get the latest fire safety tips for your family.

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