Outdoor Safety Tips for Child Safety Month 

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November is National Child Safety and Protection Month. It is an opportunity for parents and caretakers to evaluate the safety of the children in their care and search for ways to reduce the risk of injury. This includes injuries that may occur outdoors, such as in a yard or playground. While parents cannot be expected to watch every minute of outdoor play, they can take a few simple precautions to make the outdoors safer for their children.

Outdoor Safety Tips for Child Safety Month 

Create a Safe Outdoor Play Space

Take the time to inspect where your children will be playing. Many child injuries can be prevented with precautionary measures, such as identifying and addressing potential premises hazards. Encourage your children to play in designated safe areas, such as a fenced yard that has already been inspected. Take the following steps to cultivate a safe, secure and hazard-free outdoor play area:

  • Clean up any trash, debris, broken glass or other potentially dangerous items.
  • Place any waste (including animal feces) in a heavy-duty trash bag or locked trash receptacle.
  • Pick up sharp sticks that could poke or stab playing children.
  • Eliminate trip and fall risks, such as exposed tree roots or clutter in the yard.
  • Check deck, patio and walkway surfaces for foot injury risks, such as splintered wood or nails.
  • Fill in or securely cover any openings, such as wells and ditches.
  • Secure any electrical equipment or appliances, including grills, away from outdoor play areas.
  • Look for and carefully remove poisonous plants, such as poison ivy and poison oak.
  • Have any insect infestations, such as wasp nests or beehives, addressed by professionals.
  • Trim high grass and underbrush to avoid creating a habitat for animals and venomous snakes.

If an enclosed outdoor area or playground is not available for your children to play, teach them stranger safety tips. This includes not talking to strangers or anyone who pulls up to the area in a vehicle. Tell them to never go anywhere with someone they don’t know and to stay more than an arm’s reach away from strangers. They should call for help immediately if someone is making them uncomfortable.

Pay Attention to “Attractive Nuisances”

An attractive nuisance is a legal term referring to a dangerous condition that exists on someone’s property that is particularly attractive to children and poses a risk to them. Examples include swimming pools, ponds, trampolines, bounce houses and treehouses. If your property has a hazardous condition that draws children in, you are legally responsible for taking steps to prevent child trespassers from entering the premises. This may include putting up a fence, covering a swimming pool or installing security systems.

Inspect Playground Equipment

Before you allow your children to play on a playground in your yard or neighborhood, inspect for any potential injury risks. Playgrounds can fall into a state of disrepair if they are not properly maintained. Playground equipment may come apart, collapse or break. There may be exposed nails or screws that could cause lacerations. In addition, some playground structures have been recalled due to product defects. You should not allow your children to play on a playground that exhibits any potential injury risks.

Prepare Your Child for Outdoor Activities

Depending on the outdoor activity that your child will be engaging in, he or she may need special safety gear or equipment. If your child likes to ride on a bicycle, roller skates or skateboard, equip him or her with a properly fitting helmet and pads. Your child should also wear appropriate footwear for the desired activity, such as closed-toed shoes for running or riding a bike. 

Protect your child from the sun during outdoor activities with sunscreen, a hat, long clothes and proper hydration. If biting insects are a problem, use a child-safe bug repellent. Teach your child emergency preparedness tips in common outdoor accident scenarios, such as how to call for help using a cell phone or walkie-talkie. Take your child to swimming lessons before allowing any water activities so he or she knows what to do in a water emergency.

Teach Children Traffic Safety Tips

Traffic safety is critical for children who are playing outdoors. Pedestrian collisions involving children result in thousands of serious injuries and deaths each year. Teach your children never to play near a street or railroad tracks. If a toy or ball rolls into a street or driveway, tell your child to go to an adult for assistance. 

If a child has to cross a road to get to a playground or outdoor play area, accompany him or her. Teach your child to look both ways before crossing and only to cross at a crosswalk. Children should be especially careful around parked cars, as oncoming vehicles may not be able to see them. Children should never dart out from between parked cars into a roadway.

Beware of Dangerous Dogs

Stray dogs and dogs running at large present potential injury risks to unsuspecting children. Teach your child a few basic stray dog safety tips, such as never to pet or approach a strange dog or animal. Children should treat all animals with care and caution. If a dog appears as if it is about to attack, the child should not shout or run, but stand completely still and wait for it to leave. If the dog attacks, the child should go into a fetal position on the ground with his or her arms protecting the face and neck.

Was Your Child Injured Outdoors? Contact Us to Discuss Your Family’s Legal Rights

Playing outdoors is beneficial to children in many ways. By taking a few precautions, you can decrease your child’s risk of suffering an injury while playing outside. Despite your best efforts to keep your child safe during outdoor play, however, he or she may still sustain an injury. Oftentimes, child injuries are due to someone else’s negligence, such as an irresponsible property owner or the manufacturer of a defective product. In these scenarios, the injured child’s family may be eligible for financial compensation from the at-fault party.If your child gets injured in any type of accident or incident in Nebraska, contact a child injury lawyer in Omaha at Knowles Law Firm for legal advice. We offer free case consultations and personalized legal services to accident victims and their families. This Child Safety Month, we hope your family stays safe from any injury risks. If the worst happens, however, we are here to help you pursue justice and fair financial compensation.