Johns-Thomas recommends locking products that contain dangerous chemicals in a cabinet. "Potential poisons should be kept out of sight and reach from kids," says Johns-Thomas. Also, lock up medications; curious children are tempted by pill bottles. This might mean a locked cabinet in the house, in the garage, and by the pool if you have one. Never transfer household chemicals into soda bottles or containers that might be mistaken as part of the afternoon snack.
Watch Your Children Around Water
Between ages 1 and 14, drowning is the second leading cause of death. "Parents should make sure their kids get swimming lessons," says Moss. And when your child is around water, whether it’s at the beach, a pool, lake, or river, make sure an adult who knows how to swim is there to supervise. It's a good idea to have your child buddy up with a friend while swimming, but a child’s eyes should never replace those of an adult. If you have your own pool, be sure to install a fence with a gate so children can't wander in unsupervised.
Make Time for Warm-up
Athletic injuries can bring summer fun to a grinding halt. "It’s important for kids to warm up properly and not just jump right into play," says Moss. A series of warm-ups and gentle stretches can get children's muscles ready for action. Talk to your young athlete about proper technique, and make sure she pays attention to her coach. For instance, jumping and landing with bent knees can go a long way toward protecting those important joints.
Keep a First Aid Kit on Hand
Moss advises parents to keep a well-stocked first aid kit within easy reach. "You never know what’s going to happen with kids," he says. If your child goes to camp or plays on a team, talk to the adult in charge. "Make sure the team has a first aid kit and ask who’s the keeper."
You can purchase a first aid kit at a local drug store and supplement it with things like the phone numbers of your family pediatrician, health insurer, along with a list of any conditions or allergies your children have. If anyone in your family has a condition that could require emergency medication, add the drug to the kit. Be sure to keep the kit well stocked and replace expired prescriptions.
Beware of Bad Bugs
Insects have become more than an inconvenience now that some ticks carry Lyme disease and some mosquitoes carry West Nile virus. If ticks or mosquitoes are part of your landscape, there are several things you can do to protect your kids. Take a look at the woods where your kids play. "Are the woods thick with brush or are they well maintained?" says Johns-Thomas. Make sure you check your child at the end of the day for ticks, and remove them. If you find a tick on your child, and you live where Lyme disease is common, speak to your doctor.