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Summer is a time for outdoor fun – at home or elsewhere. But it is also a time when accidents can occur. Fortunately, many of these mishaps are preventable. Make sure you keep your children safe this summer. 

Dr Iqbal Karbanee, a paediatrician in Cape Town, highlights 7 summer risks and ways to keep children safe.

  1. Trampolines should be used with caution. Always make sure there is adult supervision. Let only one child jump at a time. Children’s bones are still developing and an injury, whether a broken or fractured bone, can set them back developmentally. 
  2. On family outings to shopping centres, amusement parks or even the beach, make sure you keep your eyes on your children at all times. You can be easily separated if the area is busy. Have a plan in place so that your child knows how to look for help, should they lose you. Also, make sure they have memorised your cell number. 
  3. A drowning can happen within seconds, and in just a few centimetres of water. Life jackets are a must if you want to boat, canoe, jet ski, SUP with your children. Never leave a child unattended near water. Hire a lifeguard if you are hosting a pool party or gathering with children. 
  4. Dog bites are a major cause of preventable traumatic injury in children. Teach your children to not go near a dog who is off leash or without a muzzle. Do not let them put their face close to the dog’s, even if it is a trusted family pet. 
  5. Wood fires or braais are synonymous with summer. But, they can be dangerous if unattended. Put fireplace tools and accessories out of your child’s reach and keep a fire extinguisher on hand. It may seem obvious, but never leave children unsupervised with candles, paraffin burners or outdoor wood fires. Never apply any butter or other food onto a burn. 
  6. Playgrounds and parks are a great outdoor entertainment option, but be careful of hot slides and poorly maintained equipment that may have rusty nails or sharp hooks. Also, remember to put sunscreen when spending time outdoors. 
  7. Bikes, scooters, skateboards and other wheelie toys are fun for children but should not be used near moving traffic. Traffic-related accidents are amongst the highest preventable accidents for children. Children should wear protective gear to help prevent scrapes and bruises, as well as more serious injuries.  

Be prepared at home with a well-stocked first aid kit.