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Child Care Licensing
Summer safety


Hot weather is quickly approaching in Texas. As the temperature begins to heat up, Child Care Licensing has some important reminders to ensure a safe and healthy summer for children.


Outdoor play
Play is the young child’s primary vehicle for learning, and active outdoor play, is an essential part of the young child’s daily routine. During outdoor play, children develop physical gross-motor skills as well as social, emotional, and intellectual skills. In addition to developmental opportunities, outdoor play is vital to decrease the risk of obesity that has been linked to numerous physical complications and psychological issues that carry into adulthood.

Considering how crucial outdoor play is for young children, plan ahead to ensure that you can provide outdoor play activities safely.


Minimum standards require that children of all ages have daily morning and afternoon opportunities for outdoor play when weather permits. Things to consider during the summer months include the location of playgrounds, the amount of direct sun the areas receive, whether shade is available, the age of children using the play areas, time of day, and length of time outside.

Standards require daily morning and afternoon outdoor play. But during the summer, you may break up outdoor play into additional, smaller blocks of time to provide the same amount of outdoor play that takes place during the cooler seasons. You can also plan for activities such as nature walks and water play to bring a variety of activities to the hot months.


Sun safety
After planning for the time of day and length of time that your children will spend outside, prepare the children physically for outdoor activities.


Children need to drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Minimum standards require that water is always available to children and that it is served at snacks, mealtimes, and after active play.

However, as the temperature heats up, it is best to ensure that children hydrate prior to outside play along with having water available after active play. Thirst is a symptom of dehydration, so we need to teach children the importance of drinking before they get thirsty. At the same time, know the signs of heat-related illness especially because infants and young children are at higher risk.


Sunscreen and insect repellent
Minimum standards require programs to have policies that address the provision and application of products that will be used for children regarding sunscreen and insect repellent.

To learn more about the seriousness of insect-borne illness, visit and determine steps necessary to protect children in your care. Mosquitoes won’t have a place to breed at your program if you eliminate water pooling sources and provide proper draining after rains.

Sunscreen can protect children from the harmful effects of the sun. Some sunscreens have an expiration date indicating when they are no longer effective; discard those that have expired. You may need to reapply sunscreen if children are perspiring or swimming. In addition to sunscreen, you can also use hats and sunglasses to protect children from sun damage.


Water play
Water play can be a refreshing addition to hot summer days. This play can take many different forms. Minimum standards require that all bodies of water such as pools, hot tubs, ponds, creeks, birdbaths, fountains, buckets, and rain barrels must be inaccessible to all children. This requirement is to ensure children cannot fall into the water source and drown.

A child-size pail with sponges and water-safe toys would be appropriate for a child to use in water play. With paintbrushes, children can “paint” playground fencing and other surfaces.

You may also offer sprinkler play as long as the sprinklers are not used on a concrete driveway, sidewalk, or patio. Children must be supervised with the sprinkler equipment, and equipment must be out of reach when not in use.

Programs that have specialized aquatic play equipment must maintain the area according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


Many standards apply to pool safety. Before swimming begins, review standards for wading pools and full-size pools. Along with the safety standards for pools, consider the staff ratios for water activities to ensure that you have proper supervision for all children around water.

Licensing recommends that all staff participate in water guardian activities found on the Colin’s Hope website. Directors may provide water guardian training to staff as an added layer of water safety education. Don’t forget to educate your children on water safety as well by using the resources for classrooms serving age 3 through 6.

Drowning is the No. 1 cause of unintentional death among children younger than 5. The good news is that it’s preventable!

Summer is a fun time of the year with many opportunities for enjoyable outdoor activities. Careful planning of activities, specialized training for water safety, insect control, and sun safety measures will ensure that everyone has a healthy and happy summer.


Additional resources
Colin’s Hope
Help for Parents: Hope for Kids
Insect Repellent
Minimum Standards for Child Care Centers
Sun Safety