6 Summer Safety Rules

How to protect your kids from the heat, sun, and injuries this summer.

At the Playground

When school doors close this summer, let the fun begin! Frolicking on the playground, spending lazy days by the pool, getting together with friends -- it doesn't get much better than this. Of course, all of these activities come with hazards, too. So we've talked with pediatrician Mark Widome, MD, of Hershey, Pennsylvania, to get some tips on how you can prevent injuries and protect your family this summer at the playground, at a playmate's, and at the pool.

At the Playground

Pack wisely. Before heading out the door, fill a backpack with a few essentials:

* Sunscreen: choose a children's product with an SPF of 30 or higher that shields against both UVA and UVB rays.

* Sunglasses, a hat, or visor to protect sensitive eyes against the sun.

* Some first-aid basics, such as Band-Aids and antibiotic ointment.

* A water bottle: kids need a drink every two to three hours -- more often if they're physically active or thirsty -- to prevent dehydration.

* Your cell phone, in case of an emergency.

Eyeball the equipment. Once you get to the playground, make sure swing sets, jungle gyms, and other playthings are anchored securely in the ground and are in good repair -- exposed sharp edges or open "S" hooks are a no-no. Look for a cushioned surface beneath and around play spaces that consists of sand, rubber mats, pea gravel, or wood chips. Also, check the surfaces on metal slides; if they're too hot, they could burn your child's bare legs.

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