Playgrounds, swimming pools, playing at the park -- summer comes with many outdoor activities for kids.

Playgrounds, swimming pools, playing at the park -- summer comes with many outdoor activities for kids.

While it's important to encourage kids to live an active lifestyle outside, it's equally important for parents to understand how to keep their children safe and avoid injuries. The same places where children have fun can pose risks if children are not supervised properly. Understanding where these risks are will help parents take the proper steps to keep their child safe.

Swimming is a summer favorite. Unfortunately, 800 children die each year from drowning. Therefore, it's imperative that proper safety precautions are taken around the pool. Children should always be supervised by an adult when they're swimming. The adult should be within arm's length of young children and non-swimmers to reach them quickly, and should always give their full attention to the child in the pool.

Playgrounds are another great place for children to play. Most injuries at playgrounds are the result of falls; the most common injuries are broken bones, bruises, cuts and sprains. Parents should avoid playground equipment that is installed on hard surfaces such as concrete, blacktop or grass. Instead, play equipment should be installed on softer surfaces like wood chips, rubber surfacing or sand. Parents also should fix areas where children might trip, like tree roots, and check for spaces where a child's head could get stuck. Spaces should be smaller than 3.5 inches, or larger than 9 inches in width and length.

Here also are a few home safety tips that parents can learn to keep their child safe in his or her own backyard:

Parents should not mow lawns while children are outside. Objects like rocks or sticks can be ejected from the mower, causing injuries. Children should be older than 12 before they are allowed to mow lawns, and they should be supervised.

Children should not be allowed near barbecue grills. An adult should always stand by the grill while cooking.

Summer is an enjoyable season that brings opportunities for many fun activities. Families can enjoy the outdoors while reducing the risk of potential injury -- ensuring the summer season is both fun and safe.


Nichole Hodges, M.P.H., C.H.E.S., is the coordinator for the Home Safety Program at the Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) at Nationwide Children's Hospital. She is a certified health education specialist and has a master's degree in public health from The Ohio State University.