Children's summertime safety is in adults' hands

Back in the day, before the XBox, Wii and other game consoles became a part of our daily ritual, children would occupy their summers by actually playing outside. We all remember the rules: go out and play, but you’d better tell someone where and with whom you’ll be and leave a parent’s name and phone number so the folks can call and check on you.

The biggest rule: If those street lights come on and you’re not home — or even if you’re walking in the door as the streetlights come on — you’re busted.

Now, as the countdown to summer vacation is under way and the weather is actually pleasant, those children with parents mean enough to force them outside will be filling playgrounds and playing pickup ball in the streets. The littlest children will be perfecting bike-riding skills by wobbling down the street, trying not to fall over.

This is where parents and adults come in. The plain fact of adulthood is that our three-month freedom fests have long since come to a close; we still have to go to work, be productive and continue with household chores and such. We also hold a higher responsibility to ensure our children’s safety. While they should certainly adhere to certain safety rules, their lives are still ours to protect.

With a few basics in mind, this can be a safe, fun summer for all:

• Children are susceptible to sunburns, which can lead to complications later in life. Even if they protest, slather them in sunscreen and insist they wear UV-resistant sunglasses.

•When you’re driving on neighborhood streets, slow down and keep an eye out for children.

•Make them drink water. Children can dehydrate easily, especially in the summer months, and heat injuries are ugly.

•Know where and with whom they are at all times and know their friends’ parents.

• Get out and play with them. This isn’t so much a safety tip, but why should they have all the fun?

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