Spring time gives many child care operations a chance to spend time outside after being cooped up indoors all winter. As you and your children enjoy the pleasant weather, keep in mind that outdoor activities bring the potential for fun and injury. Please keep these safety tips in mind:
Whether you have a play set at your home or take your children to a nearby municipal playground, here are some important safety tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission to keep in mind:
Outdoor Play Safety Tips
Along with play sets, the following tips cover areas where Philadelphia Insurance Companies and Assure Child Care have experienced claims in the past from outdoor activities:
- Apply sunscreen – It is not uncommon for children (and adults) to get sunburned – especially after a long winter where they have been indoors most of the time. Overexposure to the sun can lead not only to sunburns, but heat exhaustion and “sun poisoning”. As with any health issue, please check with the parent or guardian before applying sunscreen. http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/sun-poisoning
- Keep hydrated – It can be difficult to get active kids to stop and take a drink, but they can get dehydrated quickly in warm weather. Dehydration is a serious concern and can lead to other injuries when children cannot think clearly. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/childrens-hospital/health-info/diseases-conditions/hic-dehydration-and-your-child
- Watch for animal waste – Children can be infatuated by many things, including animal feces. Be aware of and remove or keep children away from animal poop, such as when cats use a sandbox as a litter box. http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/animals.html
- Safe outdoor toys – There are many toys and recreational equipment that come out of hibernation during the spring. Inspect these carefully to ensure there are no sharp edges, small parts that can be swallowed, broken parts, or other unsafe features. Also, be aware of toys that have been recalled due to safety issues: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Guides/Toys/
- Playing at heights – Trees, tree houses, ladders, and other climbable structures are inviting targets for kids. Set and enforce clear rules and boundaries regarding these. Falls are the leading cause of injuries for children ages 0 – 19 yrs. http://www.cdc.gov/safechild/
- Playground surfacing – Ensure there is adequate surfacing material under playground equipment to reduce injuries from falls.
- Falling objects – In the spring, it’s common to place unused furniture or equipment outside of your home for disposal or donations. However, a bookcase or a dresser with an old TV on it can be an inviting challenge for a small child to climb. Be sure to secure any items you place outside for pickup, or make sure it’s not prone to tipping over. http://onsafety.cpsc.gov/blog/2010/09/23/prevent-a-tv-fall-in-your-house/
- Supervision – It may seem obvious, but many child care injuries occur when the children are not closely being supervised. Cell phones can be a deadly distraction on the roads and in child care settings. Put cell phones away, keep both eyes on the kids, and remember the axiom – better safe than sorry.
We all appreciate the warm weather and the outdoor fun that can bring. Be sure to keep the fun going all spring, summer and fall by remembering and applying these safety tips. A safe child is a happy child.
IMPORTANT NOTICE – The information and suggestions contained herein are for consideration in your risk improvement efforts. The information is not intended to be complete or definitive in identifying all potential risks to your organization, preventing workplace accidents, or complying with any safety related, or other, laws or regulations. Nor should the information be construed as legal, technical or other professional advice. Philadelphia Insurance Companies and Assure Child Care disclaims all warranties whatsoever with respect to the information contained herein. You are encouraged to adapt the material that is presented to fit the risks and needs of your organization and to have your legal counsel review all of your plans and companies policies.