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Keeping Your Teens Safe This Summer

The job of a parent is never-ending. This seems to be especially true in the summer months.

Teens are out of school. They have more time to spend with friends, and they usually have plenty of activities to keep them busy.

Being the parent of a teen is no easy task. Teens are at an age where they have more independence, yet they’re still young enough to be blissfully unaware of dangers so many of us are all too familiar with.

Whether your teen is a new driver or spends a lot of time outdoors, the summertime is a great opportunity for parents to put an extra emphasis on safety education.

Let’s take a closer look at five areas in which you can encourage your teen to be safer this summer.

Driving Safety

The number of vehicle accidents and fatalities involving teenagers increases in the summer months. In fact, the increase is so steep AAA has dubbed summer as the 100 Deadliest Days.

One of the biggest aims of the campaign is to promote teen driving safety specifically regarding driver distraction. Distraction is especially common among teens.

Using mobile devices is one of the most obvious ways in which teen drivers are distracted, but AAA also points out the biggest cause for distracted teen driving is actually the presence of extra passengers in the vehicle.

Having conversations with passengers and listening to loud music is very distracting for any driver, especially for those with less experience. For this reason, parents should stress a very important message to their teens – cut out the distractions.

This means putting away the phone while behind the wheel and avoiding taking on extra passengers.

Pool Safety

Lounging by the pool is one of the most enjoyable summer activities.

Yet, as popular as swimming is in our country, only slightly more than one third of Americans actually know how to swim.

While many pool drowning deaths occur mostly among young children, teens are also vulnerable to pool injuries and drowning. Other pool hazards include diving in shallow water and slipping on the concrete around a pool.

It’s not just the potential for physical injury that makes pools dangerous.

The CDC recently released a report saying 80 percent of inspected water venues had at least one safety or hygiene-related violation.

Newsweek compared the cleanliness of pools to that of a toxic waste dump. The alarming reports from the CDC should prompt all parents to stress the need for safety around pools.

If your teen is set on visiting pools this summer, buy them a small test kit they can use before entering the water. They are inexpensive and are small enough to tote around with a bathing suit.

Pedestrian Safety

Many parents don’t realize just how important pedestrian safety awareness is for teens.

Every single hour, a teen is injured or killed in the United States after being struck by a vehicle.

Around three quarters of teen pedestrian fatalities occur between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Just as in all vehicle accidents, distraction is also a big contributor to pedestrian accidents.

All pedestrians should put away their mobile devices while walking and avoid listening to loud music through headphones, which can block out important signals and audible signs of danger or oncoming traffic.

Another valuable lesson to teach your teen is to never take for granted the driver of a vehicle actually notices their presence.

When crossing a street, for example, always make eye contact with the driver to make sure they see you.

Boating Safety

Boating is a very popular summer activity. It’s also fraught with the potential for serious injury if proper precautions aren’t taken.

In 2014, the U.S. Coast Guard estimated that close to 80 percent of boating fatalities were due to drowning.

They also estimated that 84 percent of drowning victims weren’t wearing a life jacket.

One final statistic – only 12 percent of boating fatalities occurred on boats where the operator had received a nationally approved boating safety certificate.

We can learn at least two important lessons from the Coast Guard statistics.

  • First, always encourage your teen to wear a life jacket while on a boat.
  • Second, be aware of who will be operating the boat that your teen is on. The difference between a trained operator and one without official safety training can make all the difference.

Sun Safety

There’s no surer way to feel like an old person than reminding your teenager to wear sunscreen, but there’s very good reason why this bit of wisdom is so often repeated to younger people.

The American Academy of Dermatology surveyed teens about their opinions on the sun and tanning, finding 63 percent of teens think they look better with a tan, only three out of 10 teens who sunbathe said they always use sunblock.

If your child is a teenager, then the days are probably gone when you can gently take your child by the hand and apply copious amounts of sunscreen to their faces. However, you can certainly stress the importance of sun protection to your teen.

Remind your children to wear sunscreen of at least 30 sun protecting factor and to always wear UVA and UVB sunglasses when exposed to the sun.

Remember the sun is at its most harmful between the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It may feel as though a parent’s advice falls on deaf ears, especially when the audience is a teenager. However, your message gets through much more effectively than you realize.

Trust your teen will listen to your words of wisdom and put them in a position where they can make safer choices.

Give your child sunscreen or pool testing kits. Teach them to put their phones away when behind the wheel.

And never be shy about sharing other important bits of advice for summer safety. You might just be surprised how influential you are over your teen’s decisions.

About The Author

Michael Guajardo is the father of two girls and serves as a Dallas, Texas personal injury lawyer by day. He was born in Lubbock, TX and graduated from the Texas Tech School of Law.

The average American driver will have to file an auto accident claim once every 17.9 years. Distracted driving by teenagers is a definite contributor to the statistic. There are various reasons teens engage in distracted driving.

Click here to understand why parents need to understand the importance of teaching their teens responsibility behind the wheel.

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