School is almost out, summer is coming, and your kids will be home alone or out enjoying the sun.

Summer is a great time; however, nearly half (40 percent) of all unintentional injury-related deaths occur from May to August according to the National Safe Kids Campaign.

The greatest summertime risks include drownings, bike crashes, falls, pedestrian incidents and motor vehicle crashes. Older children experience the greatest increase in unintentional injury-related death during the summer months. This is primarily because children ages 10- to 14-years old tend to engage in more risky behavior and are presumably given more freedom by their parents. Young school-age children ages 5- to 9-years old are also at high risk because they lack the judgment necessary to bike, walk, swim and play safely without adult supervision.

The South Pacific County Emergency Medical Service (EMS) Council, representing all emergency service providers in South Pacific County, wants to offer the following summer safety tips for kids. Your kids love summer! They don't have to go to school; they can stay up late and best of all they have all day to play. Follow the safety tips below to make sure their summer memories are safe ones.

Ride Safe! Make sure your kids are secured in the appropriate child safety seat or safety belt for their age and size. Kids should always be secured in the back seat, when possible. Study both your vehicle owner's manual and child safety seat instructions carefully. To have your child's car seat inspected, contact the Long Beach Police Department or Pacific County Fire District No. 1.

Swim Safe! Always supervise young children near water, including pools, spas, toilets, bathtubs and buckets. Insist your children wear personal flotation devices when out on boats, near open bodies of water or participating in water sports. Swimming in the ocean is not recommended on the Long Beach Peninsula.

Wheel Safe! "Do I have to wear a helmet, Mom?" Don't negotiate! It's estimated that 75 percent of bicycle-related deaths among children could have been prevented with a bicycle helmet. Correct fit is essential. Make sure your kids wear properly fitted helmets and other protective gear every time they ride their bikes, scooters, inline skates or skateboards. Teach your children the rules of the road. Bicyclists should travel with traffic, near the right edge of the road. Adults should practice obeying traffic laws with their children.

Walk Safe! Pedestrians should always walk facing traffic, so you can see any car that may go out of control. Never let your child under age 10 cross the street alone. Teach children to obey traffic rules. Make sure your kids wear reflective materials and don't let them walk alone at night. If they must walk at dawn or at dusk, make sure they carry a flashlight.

Play Safe! Always supervise your children at playgrounds or in the backyard. Make sure they play on a safe surface, such as mulch, rubber, or fine sand. Make sure your kids wear the right, properly fitted protective gear when they practice, and play team sports!

Fire and Burn Prevention. Plan and practice a home fire escape plan. Establish a meeting place outside. Know what to do when the smoke alarm sounds. Check your batteries at least once a month.

Matches and lighters are not toys. These should be placed in a secure place. "Cool a burn" any time you burn your skin. If you get burned by touching a hot object or liquid, cool the area with cold water for 10-15 minutes.

Firearm Safety. Children should be taught to stay away from guns and bullets. If there is a gun in the house, it should be unloaded and locked away. Ammunition should be locked and stored separately.

Home Alone. Spend some time explaining your expectations for any time that your children are unsupervised. Create a first aid kit and teach children how to use it. Store alcohol and prescription medication in a location that is completely inaccessible to children.

Establish a list of emergency phone contacts and keep it by the phone. Teach your children how to make the right call to 911, if they need the police, fire department, or an ambulance. Make sure they know how and when to call, what questions the dispatcher might ask and how to answer those questions.

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