Spring safety tips
As the weather warms up, children will want to be spending more time outside. These tips from our doctors can help your family have a safe, injury-free spring.
Driving all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) can be a fun way to spend time with family and friends, but the fun can turn into a tragedy very quickly. Never operate an ATV with more than one person on board and wear proper safety gear: helmets, goggles, long pants and shirts, gloves, and boots. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under age 16 should not operate ATVs.
Spring cleaning safety
Spring means it’s time for spring cleaning. Leave toxic chemicals in their original containers and keep them out of reach or locked away from children. Also, choose nontoxic products for your spring cleaning. For example, vinegar and water is an inexpensive and effective window-cleaning solution.
Car seat safety
More than 70 percent of car seats are incorrectly used. Read the label instruction manual to make sure the seat is installed securely and to verify your child is in the correct seat. Clean car seats of sticky snacks, crumbs, and drinks that can interfere with the crotch buckle and chest clip.
If your child wants to help with yard cleanup, provide them with tools designated for children like small plastic rakes or a child’s shovel or broom. While using lawn mowers, children must not be allowed to ride as passengers or be towed in carts or trailers. Do not permit children to play on or around the mower in use or storage. Check the outside area for sharp objects, poisonous plants, tripping hazards, and any standing water—a young child can drown in only one inch of water.
Now that the snow has melted, it’s time to pull the bikes out of the garage. There should be one to three inches of space between you when you stand on your foot pedals and the top bar of your bike. Check and oil the chain and the brakes of your bike regularly. Always wear a helmet, and replace it every three to five years or after a major impact. Wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads will help prevent sprains and scrapes due to falling.
Now that it’s warmer outside, your child may wish to play on the backyard or your local park’s playground equipment. Teach your child playground safety rules like waiting their turn, going down the slide feet first, holding onto railings, and sitting down on swings or slides to prevent injuries. Before your child uses the playground, touch the play structures to check for hot surfaces that may cause burn injuries. Remove helmets, scarves, drawstrings, and other loose items that may be choking hazards.
Spring is in the air, and so are allergies, which can cause your child to have a clear runny or stuffy nose, itchy and watery eyes, and a cough, especially when he or she has spent a lot of time outside. Keeping your windows closed and running the air conditioner can help reduce pollen counts indoors and make breathing a little easier.
Insect repellents safety
Spring means bugs like mosquitoes, gnats, chiggers, and flies that can bite, making your child uncomfortable. To prevent bug bites, apply child-safe insect repellent, but avoid the child’s hands, eyes, and cut or irritated skin. After returning indoors, wash your child’s treated skin. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, insect repellent containing DEET should not be used on children under 2 months, and oil of lemon eucalyptus projects should not be used on children under age 3.