Monthly News and Updates from IdahoSTARS


Versión en Español

summer safety.PNG

While enduring the long bone-chilling nights of winter, Idahoans eagerly anticipate the arrival of the warm, blue sky days of summer. Unfortunately, the Summer of 2020 will undoubtedly be vastly different to the one longed for in winter. Due to COVID-19, summer activities will be altered from summers past. Social distancing will be the norm and large gatherings of people will continue to be discouraged. Updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local and state governments will continue to influence our daily activities. Even so, it is beneficial for adults and children to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air and warmth of the summer sun. Childcare providers are encouraged to provide outdoor play opportunities for children of all ages while adhering to directives from the CDC regarding social distancing and minimizing exposure risk to infectious diseases including COVID-19.


Playground Safety

Currently, public playgrounds remain closed to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. Children can play on the playground of the childcare facility; however, providers are encouraged to limit the number of children on the playground at any one time. It is important to disinfect the play equipment after each group of children. Playground safety is important. Each year in the United States, more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger are treated in emergency departments from playground related injuries. Falls at home and on the playground are a common cause of injury. The most common injuries from falling off play equipment including swings and slides are injuries to the face, head, or arms. Children need to wear properly fitted helmets when riding bicycles, tricycles, and skateboards. Kids often crash into obstacles or lose control. Supervision is required. The AAP recommend that children under 5 not be allowed to use skateboards or two-wheeled scooters.

  • A preschool-age child shouldn’t be more than four feet off the ground.
  • Constant supervision is needed.
  • Routinely inspect the play equipment for any hazards.
  • Make sure that equipment is well maintained and that there are no exposed bolts or open “S” hooks.
  • The surface under the playground equipment needs to be safe, cushioned, and well-maintained.


Sun Safety

Heat related illnesses occur when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded. The best defense against heat-related illness is prevention. Infants and children up to age 4 are at greatest risk, but any age group can be affected. Just a few serious sunburns can increase the risk of skin cancer later in life. Skin needs to be protected from harmful UV rays. It is best practice to have written permission from parents before using sunscreen on a child.

  • Avoid scheduling outdoor play during the hottest part of the day.
  • Ensure that shade is available.
  • Instruct parents to dress infants and children in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Make sure the children stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Avoid high sugar drinks.
  • Keep kids hydrated and cool.
  • Observe children for signs of heat exhaustion including pale skin, dizziness, headache, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. Seek immediate medical care if a child exhibits symptom of heat-related illness.
  • Sunscreen containing a SPF 15 or higher and UVA/UVB protection is recommended every time children and adults go outside.


Transportation Safety

When transporting children, always account for every child and never leave children in a parked car. Even when it feels cool outside, the interior temperature of a car can reach dangerous levels quickly and having a window partially open does not prevent temps from rising. The temperature inside a car can increase almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit within the first 10 minutes. A child left in a parked car is at greatest risk for heat stroke and possibly death.


Food Safety

Perishable food that is left out at picnics or other outdoor activities is vulnerable to bacteria that grows quickly in the warm temperatures. Ensure that food is cooked thoroughly. Wash your hands often when preparing and handling the food and prevent cross-contamination by using separate plates for raw and cooked foods. Never leave food out for more than an hour in warm temperatures. It is advised to store the food in a well-insulated cooler packed with plenty of ice. Symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. In severe cases, symptoms may also include fever and bloody stools.

Water Safety

Water-related activities are popular during the warm summer months. States are beginning to allow the reopening of swimming pools under certain guidelines. Drownings are the leading cause of injury deaths for young children ages 1 to 4. According to data from the CDC, three children die every day as a result of drowning. Always supervise children when in or around water. A responsible adult should constantly watch young children. Drownings can occur in wading pools or standing buckets of water. Never leave open containers of water or unsecured pools available to children. The CDC website has great information on summer safety. Follow the safety protocols and have a great, safe summer!

Kathy Gates, RN (Region 6 CCHC)

“I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June.” - L. M. Montgomery