Essential Summer Safety Tips for Active Kids

During the summer, physical activity is one of the best ways to keep kids healthy and entertained. All parents know how easy it is for kids to get sucked into screens and video games—especially without school and their regular daily routines. So, this summer, find creative ways to get your kids moving, even if the weather is too hot for playing outside.  

Staying Safe  

The warm weather in the summer makes it a great time to get outside. Biking, soccer, football, baseball, walking, playing on the playground or simply tossing a ball around are all big draws when the temperature rises. Just be sure your child has close supervision from a parent, caregiver or other qualified adult. 

To prevent overuse injuries in kids, encourage them to mix things up. Work different muscle groups and incorporate low-impact activities such as swimming to help prevent repetitive strain.  

“We want to make sure kids have appropriate supervision and proper technique,” says Katherine Yao, M.D., assistant professor of clinical rehabilitation medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and assistant attending physiatrist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. “Do everything in moderation. That is the key to avoiding overuse injury.” 

If it’s too hot to play outside, bring the fun indoors. Have a dance party in the living room, do a short yoga sequence or build an obstacle course with pillows and chairs. With some creativity, you can help your kid’s overall health, bring their energy up and boost their mood, all while staying safe. 

Here are more tips for a safe and active summer: 

  • Apply the correct bug repellent for your child’s age to help prevent bug bites that can itch or potentially, insect-borne diseases.  
  • Confirm playground equipment is rated for your child’s age and isn’t too hot for them.  
  • Ensure kids wear appropriate safety gear when playing in the water. Make sure you and other caregivers are trained in CPR. 
  • Learn basic first aid for a broken bone. In a perfect world, proper supervision will prevent fractures, but accidents happen, and knowing what to do will you’re your child get the care they need quickly.  
  • Make sure your child wears an appropriate helmet when biking, riding a scooter or skateboarding, as well as when playing sports, such as baseball and football. In New York, kids under the age of 14 are required by law to wear well-fitting helmets during wheel sports. Helmets help prevent concussions, which can cause lifelong brain damage. 
  • Stay indoors during periods of extreme heat. Having kids play outside in the cooler mornings or evenings can help prevent heat exhaustion. 
  • Use sunscreen and shade to protect children from sunburn and overheating. Offer them cold drinks, especially water, throughout the day. 

Beating the Obesity Epidemic 

With 1 in 5 children having obesity in the U.S., parents must help kids get and stay active. Building lifelong healthy habits that include regular exercise will matter now and later in their lives.  

Physical activity can improve body composition and lead to more muscle and less fat mass. That and exercise can also have strong implications for improved behavior, cognition, social and emotional development, and academic performance.

If you can make it fun for the family when kids spend quality, no-screen time with you, they’ll likely look forward to it. Their health, your health and your parent-child relationship will all benefit. 

Need help building a healthy, active life for your kids? Find a pediatrician at Weill Cornell Medicine.