Children and Nature-Part 3

As children are allowed to explore outdoors, one can expect bumps and bruises to occur.  Who doesn’t reflectively look back at outdoor adventures and not remember a bruised knee or a skinned elbow as the result of climbing a tree or racing a bike with another down a sidewalk?  With encouraging active experiences in the outdoor environment for your children also comes the obligation of keeping a child safe.


It is nearly impossible to allow active learning while keeping children free from harm.  Teaching children safety rules is a necessary part of encouraging them to explore while at the same time remembering personal safety habits.  The following are a collection of rules to adapt in your home as you encourage playful learning outdoors.


  • For young children, the presence of an adult is still the most important safety tool they have.  There is no substitute for adult supervision and attention.


  • Keep children well hydrated.  Always bring bottled water outdoors and encourage your child to drink from it frequently throughout the day.


  • Require that your child wear a helmet while riding a bike, skateboard, skates or scooter.  Because modeling of adult behavior is the best teaching tool, make sure adults wear helmets as well.


  • Examine the outdoor area before your child plays to assure safety.  If your child is playing in a public park, playground, or beach take a walk around to make sure there is no broken glass, tripping hazards hidden in the grass, ant hills, wasp nests or slippery surfaces.


  • If you have a home swimming pool keep the area locked unless an adult is present.  Hide the key in a spot where children are unable to reach it and be firm on the rule of “no adult-no swimming”.


  • Use insect repellant.  Common insect bites are a big concern now that many carry diseases.  Use the repellant as a necessary part of your outdoor routine.


  • Use sunscreen.  The sun’s UV rays can be especially damaging to a child’s young skin, and the summer sun is especially harmful.  Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher and apply every 2-3 hours to sustain proper potency on the skin.


  • Identify poisonous plants.  If you live near wooded areas or go with your children learn to identify plants such as poison ivy and poison oak so they will know what to avoid.


What safety rules do you encourage with your children to assure their safety?  Please share with others so children are safe and protected in the great outdoors.


Beth Gausman C.F.L.E.

Licensed in Early Childhood Education and Parent Education


One Response to Children and Nature-Part 3

  1. jeanclarke says:

    Hey Beth,

    Great list. Thanks. One thought. We keep our children safe by protecting them from sunburn. Also we now know that all of us who live in the north need to be careful to get enough sun to build our vitamin D reserves. How about short exposures over many days, rather than one long “tanning session”?

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