Kids need outdoor play to be active, burn up excess energy and have fun. There are, however, a few steps you can take to protect them from injury.
What You Can DoHere are simple safety tips from Joan Lawrence, Toy Industry Association’s “Toy Safety Mom,” to help keep your child’s outdoor play as safe as it is fun:
- Make sure kids are wearing helmets, knee pads and other protective gear when playing with all ride-on toys, including bicycles, tricycles, scooters and skateboards.
- Shop at a retailer you know and trust, since these businesses are knowledgeable about toy recalls. Be extra vigilant when shopping for toys at garage sales, flea markets and online marketplaces.
- Water balloons are a blast, but uninflated and broken balloon pieces can be a choking hazard. Be sure to clear away deflated and broken balloons so they don’t end up in the mouths of little ones.
- Organize and store toys to prevent trips and falls. Designate “parking” spaces for bikes and other ride-on toys, and store smaller items such as skateboards, chalk and bubbles on shelves.
- Watch children carefully whenever they’re near water. Kids should never be left alone near swimming pools, beaches, lakes or other bodies of water—even “kiddie” pools—no matter what their ages or swim capabilities. Children under 5 should always be no more than an arm’s length from an adult near water sources.
- Always keep toys away from unsupervised and high-traffic areas, such as driveways and sidewalks, so they don’t lure a child into a dangerous situation.
- Ride safely. Make sure your kids wear helmets, knee pads and other protective gear when playing with bikes, trikes, scooters and other ride-on toys. Accidental falls are the No. 1 cause of childhood injury, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
- Be sure to check and follow age guidance on toy packaging. The age grading doesn’t have anything to do with how smart your child is—it’s safety guidance that’s based on the developmental skills and abilities of children at a given age and the specific features of a toy.