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When it finally arrives in Wisconsin, spring happens quickly. Children and parents are ready to spring outside to enjoy warmer temps and outdoor activities. Your kids are now a year older, so equipment that once fit may not, and new safety rules may apply, so do a safety check.

In the garage and yard

  • Check that all poisons are stored out of reach of children and pets. Common products that are poisonous to children include: pesticides, rust remover, gasoline, kerosene, paint thinner, lighter fluid, lamp oil, antifreeze and windshield washer fluid.
  • Toys stored on high shelves encourage kids to climb unsteady structures to reach them. Pull them down and organize them so kids can find them.
  • Items like rakes, brooms and ladders can fall or cause tripping hazards. Make sure they are mounted on the wall or stored securely out of reach.

At the playground

  • Check that the equipment is safe before your children start to play on it. Look for hazards such as rusted or broken equipment or dangerous surfaces. Report any hazards to the playground owner.
  • Active adult supervision is key. Lack of supervision is associated with approximately 45 percent of playground-related injuries.

On bikes and wheeled vehicles

  • Adjust your bicycle to fit: Check the owner's manual for your bicycle to determine proper fit.
  • Check your equipment: Before riding, inflate tires properly and check that your brakes work.
  • Ensure a properly fitted bicycle helmet: Correctly fitted bicycle helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of head injury by 45%. Information about helmet fitting can be found on safekids.org.
  • Wear a helmet whenever you are on wheels: Helmets should be worn when riding all wheeled vehicles, including skateboards, scooters and skates. Add elbow, wrist and knee pads for more protection.
  • Adults need helmets too: The best way to protect your head is to wear a helmet. Parents, make it a practice to wear a helmet when you bike. It's easier to convince your kids to stay safe if you model safety too.

On the road

  • Review pedestrian safety: Make sure your kids know to actively watch out for cars when playing outside or walking down the street. Teach kids to cross only at intersections, look left, right and left again, to stay on sidewalks or paths and to put phones, earbuds and devices away to stay distraction-free.
  • When driving, be especially alert and slow down in residential neighborhoods and school zones. Be on the lookout for bikers, walkers or runners who may be distracted or may step into the street unexpectedly.

For more safety tips, visit KohlsSafeandHealth.com.

Katie Horrigan is manager of the Kohl’s Cares Grow Safe & Healthy Program and director of Community Education and Outreach, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Community Services.

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