Summer playtime safety tips

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HARTFORD -- Summer is in full swing and that means lots of hours playing. But there are some things that parents and babysitters need to be reminded of to keep kids safe. Joan Lawrence from the Toy Industry Association stopped by FOX 61's Good Day Connecticut to talk about summer playtime safety.

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Summer brings with it long hours of sun and fun. It's also a great time for a refresher on some simple precautions parents and caregivers can take to ensure every play date this summer is not only fun, but safe!

  • Be sure to check and follow age guidance and other safety information on toy packaging. Remember, the age grading isn't about how smart a child is; it’s safety guidance based on the developmental skills and abilities of children at a given age -- and the specific features of the toy -- so it is really important to follow the age on the package. This is also true for outdoor toys!
  • Avoid toys with small parts when shopping for children under age three (3) and children who may still mouth toys. Test the size of toys and other objects around the home with a Small Parts Tester.
  • Water balloons can be a great way to have fun and cool off in the summer. However, be sure to supervise children around latex balloons. Un-inflated balloons and broken pieces left behind can pose a choking hazard to younger children. This is something we see often littering the floors of local parks in the summertime, and the small colorful pieces are attractive -- but can be dangerous to a small child.
  • Make adult supervision a crucial part of all play – indoor or outdoors! But with warm weather come some new hazards of which parents need to be aware. Every year we see serious accidents when children are playing -- not from the toy itself but from improper use or a lack of supervision.
  • Kids should never be left alone near inflatable "kiddie" pools, swimming pools, beaches, lakes and other bodies of water. Even a small kiddie pool can be hazardous to a very young child.
  • Toys should be kept away from water so little ones aren’t tempted to play in or near the water alone -- and water toys should be put out of reach of children when swim time is over -- so children are not drawn to use them unattended.
  • Always keep toys, bikes and trikes away from unsupervised areas like driveways and streets with traffic so they don’t lure a child into a dangerous situation.
  • Make sure your kids wear helmets, knee pads and other protective gear when playing with all ride-on toys, including bicycles, tricycles, scooters, skateboards and skates. For more bike safety tips, including how to check if a helmet fits properly, visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety website.
  • Outdoor play areas should offer some shaded cover (when it’s practical) to protect kids’ sensitive skin from the sun’s intense rays. Children should wear appropriate sun protection (sunscreen, clothing, hats, sunglasses) to avoid overexposure while they play.
  • Make sure your kids drink plenty of fluids during and after play to keep them hydrated.
  • Organize and store toys to prevent slips, trips and falls. If you have access to a garage or outdoor shed, you can designate “parking” spaces for bikes and other ride-on toys, and store smaller items like skateboards and skates on shelves.