When the weather starts to cool down and the foliage begins to turn, kids and adults alike always get the urge to rush outside and enjoy the cool autumn breezes and abundant leaf piles everywhere. Without the risk of sunburns, heat and all the summertime discomforts that regularly stress parents out about sunny weather, everything should be sweet as apple pie, right? Well, not exactly.
Just because the sun is a bit less bright and the weather is getting crisp doesn’t mean that there are no risks at all to playing outside. Kids still need to be kept safe. In fact, there are plenty of little ways you can make sure your kids stay safe outside all year round while they swing, bike and pass the ball with all their friends. In the cool weather, kids might be spending even more time outdoors, and things like recess at school and playdates could put them out of your sight for some of that time.
Regardless of where your kids go or what they like to do with their joyful outdoor time this fall, you can make sure they stay safe and healthy in all the ways that matter most.
1. Keep Them Bundled Up
As the weather starts to cool off, your kids might rejoice in the chill so much that they’re reluctant to wear the jacket, gloves and hat you know they need. While this might be alright in the first few weeks, the chill often comes quickly, so it’s important to make sure your kids are always bundled up and have the proper clothing for the weather. If you know they’ll be spending time outside at recess, send them to school with gloves or a scarf for some extra coziness.
2. Don’t Forget Sun Protection
Just because summer is over doesn’t mean it’s time to pack in the sunscreen until next year. In fact, UV rays can cause sun damage during all types of weather. Up to 80 percent of UV rays can penetrate clouds and reflect off surfaces like sand, water, snow and even concrete, which means that a cloudy day at the playground is certainly cause for some sunscreen. Protecting kids from the sun in the fall will certainly be easier than the summer, as everybody tends to show a lot less skin as the weather cools down. However, keeping the face, ears and neck covered is imperative in protecting your kids.
3. Keep Playground Equipment Clean
From the flu to the common cold to the spread of COVID, playgrounds and other places where kids congregate can sometimes spread illnesses we don’t expect. In order to keep your kids, your families and other all around safe from the spread of cold and flu season, you can take the precaution of cleaning playground equipment before and after your kids use it. You can use diluted household bleach solutions or alcohol solutions to disinfect the area and make sure your kids stay as germ-free as possible.
4. Bring Water Everywhere
Everybody needs to stay hydrated — adults and kids alike. But sometimes it can be much easier to remember to drink water during the hotter months, when thirst is ever-present. Most kids need at least seven cups of water each day — more for older kids — and getting some of that in when they’re running around and playing is a great idea to keep them feeling their best. You don’t want them getting dehydrated or fatigued, so bringing a water bottle everywhere is a great idea.
5. Always Keep an Eye Out
Whether your kids are hanging on playground equipment, riding bikes outside or exploring nature, they should always have somebody looking out for them. While a bit of freedom and personal space is necessary, kids still need supervision. Remaining close by, setting up boundaries of how far they can go from your house and making sure they stick together are great ways to ensure their safety and help you keep closer watch on them.
6. Proper Footwear
While sandals and water shoes might do for much of your summer activities, the cooler months and activities that come along with them aren’t always as simple. When the weather starts to really chill, socks and boots might be the optimal choice for warmth. But sneakers, hiking shoes and walking shoes might be the top choice for long walks, hikes and playground activities. Make sure that their shoes fit snugly, keep them warm and offer proper support.
7. Head Inside Before Dark
In order to make sure everyone can see, keep their footing and stay safe, heading inside when it starts to get dark might be the best option. In the fall, it’s important to keep in mind that it gets dark much earlier, especially after daylight savings. Plan for the sunset, and spend some quality indoor time after that.
Kids need outdoor time in order to stay healthy and happy, and one of the best ways to make sure they get the full benefit is to keep them safe. That way you can spend autumn hiking, jumping in leaf piles and exploring all that nature has to offer together.