Summer Fun and Summer Safety

Saturday June 30, 2012

Summer fun means cooking out, s’mores, camping, and especially this week, fireworks! A perfect opportunity not only to have some family fun, but to create some teaching moments.

How can you have fun, involve your kids in safety, and teach some lasting lessons?

Check out these top five Summer Fire Safety Tips by Tom Harned, Property Risk Field Manager with Liberty Mutual Insurance and Volunteer Firefighter. If you’ll read “between the lines,” you’ll see I put a fun “mom spin” on each tip.

1. Grill safely.
Always use your grill outdoors, keeping it away from siding and deck railing. Always wait until your grill cools completely before putting it away.

Mom, before you or Dad set up the grill, send one of the kids out with a ruler. Show him how to measure a safe perimeter around the grill and let him mark it with tape, so everyone can easily see.

2. Leave fireworks to the pros. The best choice is to pack a picnic basket and catch some of the displays hosted by professionals in your community. (That was always a great family outing for us!) If you do choose to enjoy consumer fireworks, make sure they’re legal in your area. Maintain a safe area for spectators. Keep a water hose or fire extinguisher in reach and know how to use it.

Mom, let the kids mark off the spectator area ahead of time. You can also put them in charge of the water buckets or hoses. Let the kids fill and prepare them…and use them to douse each other when the display is done!

3. Be careful with outdoor fireplaces and candles.
Make sure there are no structures, low tree branches or other flammable overhead obstructions near your tiki torch, candle, or campfire. Keep fires small, away from dry grass and leaves, and at least 10 feet away from anything else that can burn.

Mom, form an Advance Fire Patrol before lighting your outdoor fire for those s’mores. Give the kids a clipboard and checklist and have them check and clean the area of anything that could burn. (Like any good supervisor, though, you or Dad need to check their work!)

4. Always keep kids and pets away from fire.
(I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but consider items that might tempt kids to run toward the fire.) Avoid playing games with flying objects like baseballs, basketballs or plastic discs anywhere around the grill, candles, or fire.

Mom, explain this to the kids as you have them help you plan the play for the evening. Let them come up with ideas that will be fun but safe, games and activities that will keep them well away from the fire.

5. Never leave any flame or fire unattended. Whether you’re grilling, using a fire pit, or toasting s’mores around the fire, never leave any flame or fire unattended and put out any fire before you leave it.

Mom, designate a couple of kids as “fire watchers.” Their job is to have eyes on the fire, making sure it’s never unattended. (It’s not their job to stay with the fire, but to make sure an adult is!) They’ll love reminding Mom and Dad about safety, and it will be a lasting lesson.

With a little creativity, you can be safe, have fun, and teach all at the same time!

Here’s to Summer Fun!

Photo credit: Creative Commons

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