Summer Safety & the Sitter: Tips for Communicating For Safe Summertime Fun

Written by: Jenny Rowland

Give yourself a break this summer and hire a sitter to take over a day of pool duty, run the kids to the park or just spend an afternoon playing with them in your own backyard.  While summer gives kids a chance to let loose and have fun, it’s also when most accidents happen. Before you take off for your well-deserved time-away, make sure you communicate with your sitter the ins and outs of summer safety.  Don’t assume he or she knows what likely feels like second nature to you.   

Keep your kids safe & give yourself peace of mind by following these helpful guidelines to communicate summer safety with your sitter:

Know your sitter. It’s always important to have a trusted, responsible sitter, but choosing one to take your child to the pool or beach   takes the bar up a notch.  A service like UrbanSitter (www.urbansitter.com) enables you to find a sitter that your friends know and trust. Choose one that’s First Aid and CPR certified.

Have an emergency plan. If your child falls off the monkey bars at the park and the sitter can’t reach you, whom does she call? Where’s the nearest ER? Leave her an emergency contact list that includes cell phone numbers, your home address and instructions on what to do in case of an emergency.

Pack a ready-to-go tote bag of safety essentials so you know she’s prepared. Include a first aid kit, sunscreen, insect repellent, water bottles, snacks and your emergency contacts.

Never leave kids unattended at the pool or beach, regardless of age or swimming ability. Swim vests and arm floats are helpful, but should never, ever replace a watchful sitter.

Practice sun smarts. Even on cloudy days, children can burn and just one bad sunburn in childhood is said to significantly increase chances of a melanoma later in life. Protect kids with hats, sunglasses and a sunscreen that shields against both UVA and UVB rays. Babies under six months cannot wear sunscreen, and should not be exposed to sun. 

Keep kids hydrated. Children can’t sweat like adults do, so they are more prone to dehydration. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids have something to drink every twenty minutes when they are active. Tell your sitter to have sippy cups and water bottles handy and replenish often. She should watch for signs of dehydration – listlessness, redness in the face and irritability - and know to respond quickly.

When riding bikes or scooters or skating, mandate a helmet. The AAP advises parents that 85 percent of all bike-related injuries could have been prevented if a helmet was worn.

Prevent bug bites and stings. Provide your sitter with non-toxic repellents to apply after sunscreen.   Be watchful of any allergic reaction to stinks or bites, and know what to do if a reaction occurs. Include single-dose Benadryl in your summer tote.

We can keep our kids free from most accidents just by educating ourselves and those who care for our children. Take the time to talk through these guidelines with your sitter and enjoy a safe and fun-filled summer! 

Posted on June 18, 2012 at 6:24 PM