Does your child need an umbrella? That may seem like an odd question, but if your kids aren’t walking in the rain to get somewhere important, like school or the library, they may not need an umbrella at all. Some boisterous young ones turn umbrellas into battle weapons; so first decide whether an umbrella will truly be needed before purchasing one.
If your child will need an umbrella for walking trips in rainy weather, get one that doesn’t have metal spokes sticking out at the end. These, when blown by the wind or poked by a child, can lead to eye or facial injuries. Look for round plastic ends that are relatively harmless.
Your child will be better able to manage a small-size umbrella, one that is designed for children. There are sizes for preschoolers, and a larger size for school-age children, and finally, full-size or even oversize umbrellas for adults. Getting your son or daughter the correct size of umbrella will allow them to manage it better, especially on windy or blustery days. A smaller size will be easier to store, as well, especially at school where it may need to remain open while drying.
Try to find an umbrella with an easy-to-open spring. This can be operated by the push of a button, but teach your little ones how to point the umbrella away from their faces when pushing the button to avoid getting hurt. Be careful about the push-up kind of handle where the spring must be slid up the center rod before it will open the fan of protective vinyl. Small fingers can get caught and pinched in this type of mechanism. Show children how to carefully fold up and close the umbrella without hurting themselves.
A handle with a hook, like a “J,” is another helpful feature for kids who may hang them up on coat hooks in their school lockers or on Sunday school pegs. Depending on your child’s age, you may want to select a color or pattern that will seem fun to use; otherwise, the new umbrella may sit unused in a coat closet unless your child views it as an interesting or attractive accessory to their outdoor wear.
It’s also a good idea to show kids how to hold and carry their umbrellas. For example, if a strong gust of wind should blow it out of their hand and into the street, remind them not to run after it without first looking both ways. In fact, it may be better, depending on the child’s age and normal traffic conditions on the route he or she will be walking, to advise him or her to disregard the umbrella, since it is always easier to replace one than an injured child.
Even though many of us give little thought to choosing or using an umbrella, kids may look it at a little differently, even considering it a type of adult gear. So help your kids pick a fitting device that will be easy to use as well as efficient in keeping them dry.
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