With kids out of school in the summer, kids can have a lot more free time – from family vacations to visiting parents to summer camps and neighborhood kids, there can be a bit of fun and a deviation from your family’s normal routine.
All that extra free time in the summer means that parents often have to be even more vigilant when it comes to child safety and protection. This includes water safety, car seat safety when traveling, and even the weirdest dangers and internet safety for kids. Here are five summer safety tips to help parents keep their kids safe, without compromising on the fun.
Check out these summer safety tips for kids from Tania Haigh, founder of the Kids Too Movement.
1. Know who is around your children
Summer brings fun opportunities to travel, which can mean a child can travel alone on a plane to visit the other parent or to spend part of the summer with parents. Aware that predators can hide in airports will help mothers prepare their children to observe their surroundings and know what to do if they feel in danger. For example, teach your children the international Help signal; that the child can contact staff at any airport or airline for assistance; and use their device to text their family (make sure you have contact information pre-populated in the device) to communicate an issue while having Apple Location Sharing to follow your child. In addition, with regard to relatives, it is important to know that in 90% of cases of sexual abuse of children, the predator causing harm is someone the child and family know. It is therefore important that parents teach their children to always communicate with them immediately if someone (stranger, friend or relative) makes them feel uncomfortable or initiates exploitative behavior.
Related: Summer Camp Safety Tips for Parents
2. Keep an eye on who is around your child, in person and online
With school out for summer vacation, children may have varying routines or no routine at all. This lack of structure combined with a lot of extra free time can lead to overuse of devices as well as more time spent online using social media sites like Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and Facebook or even playing Roblox and more. other game sites. During these activities, children may find comfort in making online connections, the nebulous concept of “online friends.” But sometimes developing those friendships online means your kids are interacting with complete strangers. These “online friends” strive to build trusting relationships that can lead to offline dangers, such as agreeing to meet face-to-face. Unfortunately, there are too many unknowns about the true identities of these online avatars. So, just as it’s important to know which friends are hanging out with your kids IRL, monitoring your kids’ online conversations and maybe weeding out some of their “online friends” is also an important key to keeping them safe.
Related: Baby safety tips for summer
3. Be clear about boundaries and don’t shy away from difficult conversations
Summer is a great season for outings and social gatherings such as the annual family barbecue, block parties or family reunions. Your children may be exposed to lesser-known people like extended family members or neighbors. Educate and prepare your children for these social events by having a conversation with them about what to look out for and what it might look or feel like if an adult or older child/teen makes an inappropriate advance towards them. Also, remind them of your love and protection and that there are no secrets to hide from mom.
4. Have the “private life” conversation
As parents, we often think of the school year as the time to pick up the pace of key conversations with our kids, but in reality, digital safety is a conversation that should be happening all year long. Many children have access to games like Roblox and social networks like TikTok when they are far too young, long before parents can explain to their children how important it is for them to keep certain information private. Remind your children that maintaining privacy, which also protects them, includes never revealing their real names through avatars or account names, never sharing their address or physical location, and never revealing anything their bodies by taking, sharing or uploading inappropriate images.
Related: 6 Essential Apps That Will Keep Your Tween Online Safe
5. do what you can
To keep your children safe during the summer, you may need to divert your discussions with them from questions such as “how was your day at school?” to topics such as “how was it with your dad?” and “who do you play with?” and “did someone make you uncomfortable at the pool?” Ultimately, we want all moms to know that staying involved and engaged in your children’s lives is key to keeping them safe.
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