TIA’s Top 6 Tips for Safe Summer Play
June 19, 2013 – As families get ready for the 4th of July holiday and a whole season of fun and sun in the great outdoors, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) is reminding parents and caregivers to keep child safety front-of-mind.
“Parental supervision, sunscreen and plenty of hydration are among the top safety tips to remember as kids of all ages head outside to climb trees, cool off in the sprinkler, or bike through the park,” said Joan Lawrence, TIA’s “Toy Safety Mom.”
The following list was put together by safety experts at the Toy Industry Association to help ensure that every play date this summer is a safe one:
- Pay close attention to the age guidelines on toy product packaging.
Outdoor playthings, like all toys, are age labeled as an important safety precaution. Because the age labeling on a toy is based on the developmental skills and abilities of children at a given age, and not on a child’s intelligence, parents are advised to never let their children play with toys marked for an older age group.
- Make adult supervision a crucial element of outdoor play.
Children are quick and inquisitive. They should never be left alone near water sources (pools, inflatable “kiddie” pools, beaches, etc.) ... not even for a moment. Water toys should be kept out of sight or out of reach when not being used so children aren’t tempted to play in or near the water alone. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website www.PoolSafety.gov contains tons of useful information and tips to help keep kids safe in and near pools and spas.
- Buckle children up with helmets, knee pads and other protective gear when playing with ride-on toys.
Most parents are aware that protective gear such as helmets, knee pads and arm pads are crucial when riding a bicycle, but buckling up with the appropriate gear is equally important for other ride-on toys, including tricycles, scooters, skateboards and rollerblades.
- Keep young bodies protected from the sun and heat.
Outdoor play areas should be covered to protect children’s sensitive skin from the sun’s intense rays. Children should wear hats, 100% UVA sunglasses, and a broad spectrum sunscreen (UVA and UVB protection) when playing outdoors. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that all children — regardless of their skin tone — wear water resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and re-apply every two hours or as indicated on the label, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating. Studies show that children do not always experience thirst before dehydration, so it is important that they drink plenty of fluids during and after play, even when they do not feel thirsty.
- Organize and store toys to prevent slips, trips and falls. Large, plastic bins with lids are perfect for organizing and storing smaller toys; bins should be marked by name so that toys for children of differing ages can be easily separated. An outdoor shed should be set up with designated “parking” spaces near the door for bicycles and other ride-on toys; smaller items like skateboards and skates should be hung off ground-level or stored on shelves to prevent slips, trips and falls.
- Repair or discard last year’s outdoor toys.
At the beginning of the season and throughout the summer months, outdoor toys should be inspected for damage and wear-and-tear. Immediately repair or discard any faulty toys.
Safe and fun play is the number one priority of the Toy Industry Association. For more information about toy safety, toy trends, and more visit www.ToyInfo.org.