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Summer is in full swing here in the Carolinas, and for many of your youngest residents that means they have the freedom to play outside to their hearts content (or at least until mom or dad call them back inside). While we encourage kids to enjoy summer to the fullest, we also want everyone to stay safe. Here are a few guidelines from your homeowners association to make sure these school-free months go smoothly:

  • Make sure your children are proactive about their safety. Whether they’re playing at a park, swimming at a pool or riding their bikes around your HOA community, it’s important that kids understand what types of injuries could occur during these activities and how they can best avoid them. If an injury does occur, your kids need to know what actions to take—such as alerting a trusted adult or, in the case of a true emergency, calling 911.
  • Supervise your kids at the pool. While it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your kids, it’s particularly important to make sure your children have adult supervision while they’re in the water. It only takes a second for even good swimmers to find themselves in a dangerous situation, so it’s vital that kids are supervised by someone who knows the signs of a distressed swimmer. To learn about how you can keep your family safe at the pool, visit www.poolsafety.gov.
  • Slow down while driving through the neighborhood. All residents should take note of this rule. With children out and about in full-force during the summer, you’re more likely than ever to see a distracted kid chasing after a run-away baseball or skateboarding on the streets. So slow down, be extra aware of what’s going on around you, and be prepared to stop suddenly if a child runs out into the middle of the road. Parents should also remind kids that they have a responsibility to be aware of oncoming cars as well, and to be extra careful when they are on the street.
  • Remind older kids to check in with you when they’re playing without adult supervision. When kids are out on their own, it’s easy for them to forget to let their parents know they’re okay. So establish a set of rules, such as checking in every few hours or whenever they change locations, and be firm when enforcing them. If your child has a hard time remembering to give you a call every so often, it might be helpful to have them set an alarm on their cell phone or watch so they don’t forget. It’s a great way for kids to build a sense of independence and for you to know they’re safe even when they’re not within sight.

While the summer can present many hazards, there’s no reason your kids can’t come out of it unscathed (notwithstanding a few minor scrapes, bruises and bug bites, of course). To learn more about how you can keep your kids from getting hurt this summer, visit www.cdc.gov/features/KidsSafety/ for a list of great articles. Stay safe and enjoy this wonderful season.