Back-to-school is in full swing, and cooler days are setting in. Although fall is beautiful with its foliage, fruits and vegetables, and fun family activities, it also presents new dangers to children and parents. Fall also brings shorter days, lower temperatures, a fast-approaching holiday season, and pesky new germs.
Stay safe this Autumn by practicing these 10 fall safety tips:
1. Dress Children in Bright-Colored Clothing
With daylight growing shorter, kids still like to play outside on warm evenings. Be especially cautious with young children; they are still learning traffic safety and may inadvertently dart out into the street. Dress children in bright-colored clothing and sneakers, or apply reflective tape to clothing so drivers can easily spot kids.
2. Stay Alert Around Moving Vehicles
Hold your child’s hand in parking lots, and teach children to back away from a vehicle when it turns on. Drivers backing out of parking spaces and driveways will have a harder time spotting young children when it’s dark outside, especially if children are in a vehicle’s blind spot.
3. Don’t Let Your Guard Down at the Playground
Check playground equipment for sharp edges, faulty equipment, and make sure kids can’t squeeze their heads between bars. Wet leaves can also pose a slip-and-fall danger for children, so make sure to brush away any loose leaf piles.
4. Practice At-Home Sports Safety
Parents should always have children wear protective sports gear, even if they’re practicing alone at home. Stop Sports Injuries says, “More than 3.5 million kids under age 14 receive medical treatment for sports injuries each year.” At-home practice should be taken just as seriously as field practice.
5. Leaf Piles Present Hidden Dangers
Kids may want to help rake leaves, so it’s important to keep sharp, dangerous tools stored away and out of sight of children. Leaves can also carry various molds, bugs, and critters, so monitor children when they play in leaf piles.
6. Teach Children The Importance of Handwashing
Children should wash their hands often to avoid getting sick and spreading germs. KidsHealth says to make regular hand washing a rule for everyone. “When kids come into contact with germs, they can become infected just by touching their eyes, nose, or mouth. And once they're infected, it's usually just a matter of time before the whole family comes down with the same illness.”
Make it a habit for children to wash their hands:
After using the bathroom
After touching animals, including family pets
Before and after visiting sick friends or relatives
After coughing or sneezing
After playing outside
Avoid pediatric burns by always checking the temperature of hot soup, water, and cider before serving to children. Most burns come from children pulling soup down from the microwave themselves. Other reasons include uncoordinated walking while holding a soup and hot beverages, and spilling hot soups while eating.
8. Dress Children in Weather-Appropriate Clothing to Avoid Sickness and the Common Cold.
Choose light layers and remove damp clothing immediately. Because evenings are chillier than sunny afternoons, make it a habit to pack a sweatshirt or light jacket in your child’s backpack.
9. Keep Safety in Mind During the Holidays
Make sure to check gifts for loose strings and ribbons, as they could strangle or choke young children. Other holiday safety tips include:
Store gift wrapping materials out of sight of young children.
Check all decorative materials for fire hazards.
Use plastic or flameless candles to avoid burns and fires.
Keep young children out of the kitchen and away from hot ovens.
Turn pot handles inward and out of the reach of children.
10. Make Sure Your Childcare Center has Safe, Evening Pick Up Protocols in Place.
As it gets dark outside, unwanted tailgaters may try to follow parents into the facility. Make sure security cameras and standard pick up and drop off procedures are in use. Also, check to make sure the parking lot is brightly lit and free of tall bushes and dumpsters; these dark corners can create hiding places for assailants.
By keeping children safe and out of harm’s way, the whole family can enjoy all the fun that Autumn offers. As it gets darker earlier, always double-check your surroundings, walk together in groups, and when it’s time to leave, keep your head up and remain free from distractions.
The Institute for Childhood Preparedness has decades of experience in law enforcement, security, and emergency response. We are proud to offer our workshops in English and Spanish. Schedule a training with us today: www.childhoodpreparedness.org/training.
Download our Fall Safety Tips in English and Spanish here!