Safe Summer Holidays

Edited by Admin
Safe Summer Holidays

Safe Summer Holidays

School’s out, and summer’s here! Kids are rejoicing, but parents are wondering how to keep them busy and safe for eight whole weeks. Most parents have jobs that keep them away from home for at least part of the day, so it’s important to put systems in place that will protect your kids and ensure that they have a safe and happy holiday.

Things to Do with Kids

Going to sleepover camp in a wilderness area can be a great experience for kids. Many camps are available in Ontario, and most offer exciting water activities such as swimming, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, or sailing. Your child can also try archery, ziplining, running an obstacle course, Frisbee golf, beach volleyball, hiking, or other fun sports activities. Another favourite activity at camp is creating something beautiful in the arts and crafts building – perfect for rainy days and quiet times. Being away from home for a week or more can be challenging for some children, but good camps have strategies in place to help the homesick child – and the experience will help your child to build resistance. Many campers meet lifelong friends at camp!

Sleepover camps can, however, be expensive. If you live in or near an urban area like Toronto, you’ll find many day camps on offer. The City of Toronto, for example, offers a variety of different day camps at affordable prices. Day camps can be found to match almost any interest, from math camp to dance camp, from art camp to basketball camp, from zoo camp to drama camp. Often these programs offer a sibling discount. You can also find camps for kids with special needs, or specialized educational camps.

Some parents are able to have a caregiver supervising children, or to take some time off work to hang out with their kids. A savvy caregiver can find fun things to do every day! Public swimming pools or splash pads are perfect for hot days. Excellent dinosaur and spider displays at the Royal Ontario Museum are sure to delight kids, and your local public library may have free passes available. Speaking of the library, many offer interesting programs in the summer, including reading contests. Going to the zoo is fun for kids, and the Toronto Zoo is so large that you need several day trips to see all of the various animals. Going to Toronto Island is like a holiday! Visit Centre Island amusement park, the barn, the gardens, or go for a swim. Biking on the Island is safer for kids, since car traffic is greatly restricted.

Staying Safe

Whatever summer adventures are in store for your children, it’s good to put some rules in place to ensure that they will stay safe. Here are some safety tips:

  • Sun safety. Make it a house rule that no one leaves home in the summer months without applying sunscreen, and putting on sunglasses and a hat. Kids should take sunscreen with them, too, for reapplication after a couple of hours. You can find recommendations as to the safest brands to buy here.
  • Staying hydrated. Even if your kids are wearing sunscreen, they should be mindful of taking breaks from the heat and sun. Make sure they have a water bottle, or stop for a cold drink at regular intervals.
  • Transit safety. If your kids will be taking transit, teach them how to be safe. If they see dangerous behaviour or feel threatened, they should know that they can report it to the collector. If your kids are travelling with a caregiver, make sure that they have a plan in place in case they get separated. Before you let your children travel on their own, make sure they are old enough to be aware of traffic safety rules.
  • Check-ins. If your kids are old enough to be out on their own, have them check in with you at regular intervals. If they have a cellphone, remind them to charge it and check it periodically.
  • Water Safety. Each year, more than 400 Canadians drown. Whenever your children plan to be near water, make sure that they will be properly supervised. Smaller children should have properly-fitted lifejackets on at all times, and even older ones should not be allowed to swim without a competent swimmer watching them. Even if your child is a strong swimmer, never leave them unattended in or near the water.
  • Other Hazards. There are also some hazards for children that we do not necessarily think of when we consider their safety. For example, ER personnel see increases in in the summer of children burned by contact with barbecues. Children may not realize that the device remains hot after grilling. Keep an eye out for wasps’ nests in your yard. Be careful about serving food that’s been left out in the sun. 

Remember – a happy summer is a safe summer!