Summer Safety For Kids Who Live In Rural Areas
Summertime is full of adventure, staying up late, and playing outside for most kids, and while there’s a lot of fun to be had during warm months, summer break can be a bit stressful for parents who are trying to plan for safety. Summer safety is a very serious matter. In rural areas, the challenges are a little different due to the environment; because many of these areas are home to farms with large, dangerous machinery and animals, it’s especially important to teach children how to be safe and how to prevent accidents.
There are many things to take into consideration when teaching children rural summer safety, in part because many families who own farmland like to include young ones in the work to get them acclimated to the environment. Teaching kids early about hard work is wonderful, but it also pays to make sure they know the dangers associated with equipment and how to keep themselves safe when you’re busy. Here are a few of the best tips for doing just that.
Because many rural areas are home to narrow, winding roads, it’s important to teach children the dangers of playing near them or riding bikes on them. According to the American Journal of Public Health, 19% of all child and teen deaths in rural areas are due to vehicle accidents, and it’s presumed that so many occur because of lack of appropriate signage and traffic lights as well as speed. Make sure teenagers of driving age are well aware of any dangers on local roads and teach them how to handle various conditions, such as driving in heavy rain or on loose gravel.
ATVs also play a part in many fatal child injuries, so it’s imperative that you educate your family on how to safely operate one of these vehicles and always have an adult supervise. Make sure equipment such as helmets are in good shape and fit well, too.
Weapons and sports equipment
Many who live in rural areas keep weapons in the home for hunting or sport, so it’s important to teach firearm safety to everyone in the family and keep guns locked up and out of reach of young ones. It’s a good idea to make sure everyone has brightly-colored vests or jackets to wear in wooded areas, especially during hunting season, and keep communication open to make sure little ones know their boundaries when it comes to your property.
Teaching kids about the power of farm machinery can be a great educational experience, but it’s also important to make sure they respect it at the same time. Tractors, combine harvesters, and cultivators are all examples of useful machines that can cause injury or death. Make sure your family understands who can operate these tools and what to do in case of an emergency.
It’s also important to keep a close eye on pesticides and the tools used with them. Keeping everything safely put away and out of reach of little ones is a must.
Many rural areas include ponds, lakes, and streams and can attract kids during the hot months of summer. It’s important to scope out these areas before your children play to make sure there are no snakes or other dangerous animals lurking about and cover any unused wells. Teach your children about water safety, including not diving from elevated areas and what to do if their muscles start to cramp.
It’s also a good idea to think about the water that your family uses for bathing and drinking. Some rural areas use wells, and wells that were dug rather than drilled can allow the water to become contaminated. Well water isn’t fluoridated like tap water is, so it’s important to maintain your family’s oral health, especially children, whose teeth are in a state of flux until about age 12 or 13.
Summertime can be tons of fun for kids no matter where they live. As long as you are aware of any risks where you live and educate your family about them, the warmer months can be safe and happy times for everyone.
Photo by: Pixabay
Sean Morris is a former social worker turned stay-at-home dad. He knows what it’s like to juggle family and career. He did it for years until deciding to become a stay-at-home dad after the birth of his son. Though he loved his career in social work, he has found this additional time with his kids to be the most rewarding experience of his life. He began writing for LearnFit.org to share his experiences and to help guide anyone struggling to find the best path for their life, career, and/or family.