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Family Focus: How to keep kids safe while they play outdoors

Warm weather means more kids getting injured playing outdoors.

With the weather getting warmer, chances are your kids want to get outside more often.

And although we know deep down that kids are going to take a few falls, there are ways to make sure the more serious injuries are avoided.  

Nicole Knepper, with Mercy Health, says they usually begin seeing an increase in injuries starting in May, across all ages, because people are getting out more.

Most of those injuries, are falls, which account for more than 75% of all playground-related injuries.

It's important to remember that little kids who play on big-kid equipment will have a further drop ahead of them if they slip.

"Anytime they fall from a height that's taller than what they are there's always a risk of injury," said Knepper. "So, you want to make sure you're checking them carefully after that."

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However, there's ways to make sure that once they get outside, your kids are protected.

For one, taking your kids to playgrounds with shock-absorbing surfaces like rubber, synthetic turf, and sand can lessen the injury.

When riding a bicycle, a properly fitted helmet can reduce that risk by half when worn. Right now, less than half of kids 14 and under are wearing head protection.

Another way to help protect your kids is to make sure they have appropriate clothing on. Baggy clothing, necklaces, or clothes with drawstrings can catch on equipment.

"Flip-flops cause a lot of falls. So, you want to make sure our kids have good shoes on," said Knepper.

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One other thing to be aware of is kids falling from windows while leaning on a screen, which can cause it to pop out. Experts say to avoid that tumble, make sure you have window guards and move chairs away from the open windows.

Of course, the best thing you can do to protect your child, said Knepper, is to put down the phone and pay attention.

"Watching your children and keeping an eye on them is the best thing you can do, because, not that you have to control every situation, but just make sure you're keeping an eye so if they do tend to veer towards something more dangerous, you can redirect them towards something safer to do," said Knepper.

Just remember that kids will get hurt at some point, you can't stop that completely, but it shouldn't get in the way of letting them have fun.

"For kids, the world is a magical place and there's all these new adventures and new discoveries to find, which is fantastic, but we as parents and caregivers just need to make sure we're nurturing their curiosity while supervising them and keeping them safe," said Knepper.

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