Let's Move Safely
I fully support the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” initiative, and I join her in encouraging America’s children to become more physically active as an essential element of a healthy lifestyle. Getting yourself and your children moving together is a fun way to enjoy quality time as a family. At the same time, you can prevent injuries by adding a few of the following simple safety steps to your family’s outdoor activities.
Use as many proven water safety steps as possible to ensure a safe and fun experience. You never know which safety step might save a child’s life—until it does.
Stay close, be alert, and watch your child in and around the pool. Never leave a child unattended in a pool or spa and always watch your child when he or she is in or near water. Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim. Teach children basic water safety tips, like staying away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings to avoid entrapments. Learn to perform CPR on children and adults and update those skills regularly.
What’s better than going for a bike ride? Just make sure you and your children wear properly fitted helmets every time you get on those bikes. Don’t forget that helmets aren’t just for children— they’re for adults, too. Wearing a properly fitted helmet can reduce the risk of a head injury by 85 percent!
Wear helmets low on the forehead—two finger widths above the eyebrows. Place the helmet evenly between the ears. It should be sitting flat on the head. Tighten the chin strap and adjust the inside pads so the helmet is snug. The helmet should not move up and down or from side to side.
When riding on the road, be alert. Children under nine years old should not ride on roadways, as they do not yet have the skills to identify and avoid dangerous situations. Also, young children should not ride at night.
Children are involved in thousands of scooter related injuries each year. It is best to keep your scooter on a smooth surface, so make sure children always ride the scooter on a sidewalk or a paved path. They should only ride during the day, wear a helmet and elbow and knee pads always, and stay away from cars or other vehicles.
Supervision is important when your children play on playground equipment —regardless of whether they are in your backyard or at a neighborhood park. Even better than watching them play is to join them. It’s great exercise for all of you!
If you install playground equipment in your yard, use this simple checklist to make sure it is safe:
- make sure there is shock-absorbing material under the play set as falls are the biggest risk to children on the playground,
- make sure children’s clothing is not loose and does not have any loose strings that can catch on equipment before your child plays on playground equipment, and
- remove any necklaces that could catch on the playground equipment and strangle your child.
Goal! That’s what children and parents alike want to see on the soccer field. Just be careful with the goal itself. Do not let children climb on goals or hang on the crossbar because there have been many injuries and some tragic deaths when heavy soccer goals have tipped over and pinned children. Always use extreme caution when moving goals. CPSC recommends that soccer coaches, school officials, and soccer field maintenance personnel anchor goals to the ground so they do not fall over and cause a serious injury or death.
Batter up! Batters should wear a batting helmet with a face guard. You can prevent sliding injuries by using safety release bases that do not leave holes in the ground or parts of the base sticking up from the ground when the base is released. Now play ball!
Let’s Move! As summer approaches, I urge you and your family to get active and move safely!