Summer has arrived!
When my kids dump their backpacks on the floor of the kitchen for the last time, I am so happy to be off homework duty I don’t even complain.
In fact, I just tell them to turn right around, because we’re headed to the pool where I plan to put my freshly pedicured feet up with a good book and a cool drink.
I’ve even considered posting a sign by my lounge chair that reads:
Mom off duty. You’re on your own!
It’s tempting to punch out on the last day of school, like an overworked employee in need of a long overdue vacation.
But the truth is, as mom’s we’re never off duty, and the summer comes with its own parenting challenges—-not the least of which is depositing our charges, all present and accounted for, safely back at school on the first day.
Along with the toddler who decided to take an up close and personal look at a gorilla at the Cincinnati zoo, I’ve watched a series of heartbreaking news reports about early summer accidents involving children.
One minute they’re riding home from school on their bikes with the feel of summer in the air. The next, life will never be the same for everyone involved.
While I’m not one to reprimand kids running on the pool deck if they’re not my own (even though it’s one of my pet peeves), I thought I could offer a “well” intentioned post with a few summer safety tips.
After all, there’s no wellness in a summer interrupted by a trip to the emergency room.
Accidents happen . . . yes. But many can also be prevented. Oftentimes, by simply remaining vigilant, aware, and one step ahead of our little ones who taste the freedom and adventure of summer just like we did when we were kids.
Here’s where statistics say summer accidents are most like likely to happen, along with a few amiable suggestions for prevention:
Did you know that drowning is often a SILENT occurrence? Many events aren’t like a scene out of Baywatch, involving dramatic screaming, waving arms, and yelling for help. Victims simply slip quietly beneath the surface of the water, until someone notices they are missing.
Many community pools like ours, aren’t staffed with lifeguards enforcing old school rules like no running, no diving, and no flipping off the side of the pool. These are super fun activities for kids. But stitches, blood, and missing teeth—-ugh! Very messy.
When I took an EMT course after college, I remember the stories of poor outcomes involving kids, not wearing helmets, falling off bicycles—-even slow moving bicycles. Devastating.
Kids are everywhere now—at least they are in my neighborhood. I’ve found bikes behind my car, and have had small children appear out of nowhere the moment I start backing out of my driveway.
Sure it’s against the law. But even if you’re not a text-er, peeking at our phones when we hear it buzz can be oh, so tempting. In 2014, close to half a MILLION people were injured in accidents involving distracted drivers.
I have amazing childhood memories of early summer days.
I’d run around my neighborhood barefooted, and hunt for crayfish in the stream behind my house. I rode my bike from one end of town to the other, sans helmet—-but always on the sidewalk, which was the non-negotiable in my day.
Somehow I survived, in spite of hands-off parenting.
Life seems trickier these days—-like extra vigilance is required.
I’m not judging, or trying to be a know-it-all. I even wrote a post about How I Could Have Been the Cincinnati Zoo Mom. I get how easy it is for things to happen in spite of our best efforts.
But as a parent, I feel responsible—-both for my own kids and for “everykid.” It takes a village to keep our kids safe, as they say. And here’s my contribution.
Be safe, be well. And by all means put your pretty, pedicured feet up. You’ve earned it.
But don’t take your eyes off that pool! 🙂
Happy Summer! Meg
Wellness Prompt: Does anyone else have tips on keeping our kids safe in the summer? Do tell in the comments below! And if you think this post is helpful & share worthy . . . please pass it on 🙂 Prevention is always good wellness medicine.
***Also: Check out my “Well-Life” coaching page. There’s no better time than the summer to put your wellness (or your best-life goals) front and center. I can show you how!