With the Fourth of July just around the corner, families everywhere are preparing for picnics, pool parties, parades, beach days, and fireworks. While Independence Day is generally a fun-filled day of family activities, it can be challenging to keep toddlers and young children safe.
We will be headed to the festivities in the park in our little town…which stops feeling little when absolutely everyone is in one place! Cue the mini panic attacks and desperate attempts to keep one hand on each kid at all times!
Warm temperatures, crowded parades, overcrowded pools and beaches, and fireworks can put children at risk for injury.
The best way to keep your kids safe, of course, is close supervision at all times.
Below are a few tips to help you keep your toddlers and young children safe this Fourth of July:
Prevent Heat Exhaustion: Soaring temperatures and prolonged periods of sun exposure put toddlers at risk for heat exhaustion. Without proper hydration, toddlers can overheat very quickly and become lethargic. Provide plenty of water, seek shade as much as possible, and take breaks from the festivities to spend time indoors. A cranky toddler is a toddler who needs a break. Pay attention to changes in behavior and demeanor. My kids are really good water drinkers…but sometimes adding a slice of strawberry to the water makes it a little more festive and helps it go down faster.
Prevent Sunburn: You don’t need the sun to get sunburn. This is especially true for toddlers and young children. Dress your children in light, long sleeved clothing, wide brimmed hats, and apply SPF 30 every two hours. Again, take breaks from the sun to avoid excessive exposure. For the life of me, I can’t get Liam to wear a hat these days…but hats and sunglasses are great and necessary for adequate sun protection.
Practice Swim Safety: Pools and beaches are often overcrowded on the Fourth of July, and children can go under very quickly. Be prepared to keep a very close eye on your toddler. You should always have one hand on a toddler or young child who can’t swim independently while in a pool or the ocean. Floaties do not replace hands on supervision. Brush up on your CPR and rely on one parent per child supervision when possible. Even when a child recovers from being submerged, long-term neurological damage can occur. Don’t take chances. We try to get to our local pool early to avoid the crowd…and who wants to be out during the hottest hours of the day, anyway?
Practice Grill Safety: It’s no big secret that grills become very hot to the touch very quickly. Put one person in charge of the grill and consider surrounding the grill with a child safety gate to prevent accidental burns. Never leave a hot grill unattended.
Fireworks Safety: Fireworks are banned in many places for good reason. Most parents don’t realize that even a sparkler can reach temperatures of 1000 degrees or more and light clothing on fire. Leave the fireworks to the professionals. Never give a sparkler or other firework to a child (they often hold sparklers too close to their bodies). Find a local firework display, pack a picnic, and keep a safe distance while you enjoy the show. Lucky us…the fireworks land on our roof! We will be watching from the balcony while willing the kids to just keep sleeping…
Create a Safety Plan: Large crowds, parades, and ample distractions can lead to parent-child separations. It’s best to have to safety plan in place. Teach your child to look for a police officer or another mommy with young children to seek help if lost or confused. Set a designated meeting place that is easily identifiable to your child. Keep cell phones charged and consider allowing older children to carry a cell phone during crowded events. Toddlers are easily distracted and they tend to wander. A buddy system is always a good idea. I really do worry about big crowds and constant distractions for kids (light wands, cotton candy, win a fish…stick close and keep it short for the little ones).
The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. I love the parades, the picnics with friends and family, and the late night firework displays. And when I follow these safety tips for my kids, I know that they can have a fun and safe holiday too.
How do you celebrate the Fourth of July?Pin It