Experts from Mass General share tips on how to keep yourself and your children safe during these summer months.

It may not be a normal summer, but there are still things you can do to keep yourself and your family safe. Michael Flaherty, DO, a pediatric critical care physician in the MassGeneral Hospital for Children Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Trauma and Injury Prevention and Outreach Program, and Toby Raybould, MS, manager for the Trauma Injury Prevention and Outreach Program share important tips with parents on how to keep their families safe this summer.

Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

  • Continue to practice social distancing (stay at least six feet away from others)
  • Wear a mask
  • Bring hand sanitizer if you are going out
  • Stay home if you are sick
Sitting around a backyard fire pit may seem like an ideal way to relax on a summer or fall evening. But parents may not want to get too comfortable if there are young children around.
Sitting around a backyard fire pit may seem like an ideal way to relax on a summer or fall evening. But parents may not want to get too comfortable if there are young children around.

When It’s Hot and Sunny

  • Wear sunscreen and reapply often
  • Drink lots of water
  • Wear lightweight clothing
  • Wear a hat
  • Go into air conditioning or seek shade

Mosquito and Tick Prevention

  • Avoid being outside when mosquitoes are most active, dawn to dusk
  • Wear long pants and shirts when hiking in the woods
  • Use insect repellent
  • Check yourself and your family (and pets!) for ticks when you arrive home
  • If you find a tick, use tweezers to remove it and notify your doctor

Water Safety

  • Always keep close watch on your children at the beach or in the pool, even a kiddie pool
  • At the beach, swim only where there are lifeguards on duty
  • Turn over kiddie pools when you are done using them, as rainwater can fill an empty pool

Bike Safety

  • Make sure all children and adults wear properly fitting helmets
  • Do not bike alone
  • Be aware of other bikers, cars and pedestrians
  • Be aware that trails may be more crowded this summer

Teen Driving

  • According to AAA, the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is known as the “100 Deadliest Days” because this is when we see an increase in fatal crashes among teenagers
  • Talk to your teenagers about driving safely and using their full attention i.e. do not use phones or other electronic devices, do not become too engaged with the passengers in your car, maintain a speed below the speed limit and always look out for other motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians

At Home

  • Keep children and pets away from a hot barbecue grill or fire pit
  • Do not leave a hot grill or fire pit unattended
  • Make sure your grill or fire pit is not near any overhanging tree branches
  • If you bought any new play structures for your children, make sure they are installed properly and follow all safety precautions
  • If you use fireworks, keep them away from children and take time to talk about how dangerous they are

If you or your child need medical care, Massachusetts General Hospital and MassGeneral Hospital for Children are always open to address your health care needs.

Michael Flaherty, DO

Michael Flaherty, DO, is a pediatric critical care physician in the pediatric intensive care unit at MassGeneral Hospital for Children. He helps lead the Mass General Trauma and Injury Prevention Outreach Program, where he is actively involved in research in pediatric trauma and injury prevention including adolescent motor vehicle crashes, window falls and recreational injuries in children. His clinical interests include the care of critically ill children in all capacities, as well as specifically in the medical treatment of pediatric trauma victims and the treatment of severe refractory asthma.

Toby Raybould, MS

Toby Raybould, MS, is the manager for the Mass General Trauma Injury Prevention and Outreach Program. This program applies evidenced-base approaches to prevent injuries to children and adults and advocates for policies to improve the health and safety of our community.