Thoughtful Parenting: Summer safety |

Thoughtful Parenting: Summer safety

Summer in Steamboat Springs is fun. For kids, there’s lots of outdoor exploration and learning disguised as play. To keep kids safe, we offer some reminders.

  • Sunscreen: Use liberally and reapply every two hours. Sunscreen isn’t advised for children younger than 6 months. If you can’t escape the sun and deem it necessary, avoid putting sunscreen on your baby’s hands which are in and out of their mouths.
  • Hats: Be a model. Establish a standard for wearing hats when leaving the house. Children are masterful observers and lovers of routine, and they’ll incorporate hats into their leaving-the-house regimen. If they pull their hats off, put them back on. Eventually, they’ll adapt.
  • Heat: Avoid playing in the heat from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Choose lightweight clothing to cover arms and legs. Use a light muslin blanket to drape over children in strollers. When wearing your baby, put your hand between yourself and your baby to check for overheating.
  • Cars: Every summer, we hear stories of children who are left in a hot car and die. Typically, this happens when parents do something outside their normal routine. Put something you’ll need — purse, workbag or shoe — in the back seat. When you arrive at your destination and reach for the item, you’ll confirm you’ve dropped off your child. You can also set your smartphone alarm. Lifestyle changes due to COVID-19 may make this situation more prevalent. Occasionally, we hear about a child getting locked inside a hot car. Consider hide-a-keys for the outside of your vehicle or call the police or locksmith. As natural hide-and-seekers, some kids hide inside cars and wait to be found. Keep cars locked when not in use. Ask visitors to do the same. Additionally, walk around your vehicle before starting the engine and driving away. Kids can be too small or fast for your car’s technology and sensors.
  • Water: Toddlers can drown in less than 2 inches of water and as quickly as 20 seconds. Don’t leave a child unsupervised around water, including baths and inflatable pools. Be vigilant around rivers, lakes and ponds. Look for sources of outside standing water like buckets or ditches.
  • Campfires: Before a fire, set behavioral expectations and physical boundaries. Address nearby items that also get hot, horseplay and throwing objects into and poking at the fire. Remember that changes in wind direction and embers make fires dynamic.

Deirdre Pepin is the resource development and public relations coordinator at Horizons Specialized Services. If your child is younger than 3 and you have a question about his or her development, contact Child and Family Services Coordinator Michelle Hoza at or 970-871-8558.

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