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How do I keep my kids summer safe?

How to keep my kids summer-safe...

without being overly protective.

I don’t want to be a helicopter mom – but, with warmer weather, my kids will be playing outside more.

How do I keep them safe?

Elizabeth Walenz | Pediatrician

Elizabeth Walenz

Definitely encouraging kids to play outside is important year round. When kids are out of school, encourage them to play outside.  Free play helps with a child’s imagination as well as keeping them active.  Free play has been shown to help with how children approach problems whether in school or on the playground. 

How do we keep them safe and still give them freedom to explore?

First, establish some ground rules. Whether focused on street safety, hydration, water safety or stranger danger - these are good rules to follow:

Street safety

  • Teach children that the street is no where to play. 
  • Teach your children to look both ways when crossing the street and asking an adult to help to retrieve lost items. 
  • Establish limits to where children may play.
  • If a child is learning to ride a bike, tell them they may ride from one mailbox to the far lightpost to practice. 

Neighborhood safety

  • Review stranger danger and what to do if a stranger approaches. Have consequences for your children for not following the rules. 
  • Get to know your neighbors and the kids in the neighborhood. Celebrate your neighborhood night out and become part of the neighborhood watch program.
  • Know where your kids are playing.  Know who your kids are playing with.

Safe activities

  • Always a helmet when riding, whether biking, scootering, blading or skating.
  • Knee pads and elbow pads are a great idea when skateboarding.
  • If you choose to bounce, establish rules for home trampoline use including one bouncer at a time.

Water and sun safety

  • Always apply sunscreen before heading out the door. Reapply every few hours as indicated on the sunscreen.
  • Keep fences around pools or drain kid’s pools unless you are able to watch your children while swimming. This will help to prevent drowning.


Check in with your child throughout the day. Keep them hydrated. Ask them what they have been up to at the end of the day. talk to your children. Share your own experiences of childhood and how you played when you were younger, this may help to spark ideas in your young ones.

Take a deep breath and enjoy the spring, it is finally here!

Read more summer safety ideas in the Summer Safety section of!

Read more answers by Dr. Walenz