Time to get outside and play. Time to get in the car and head to the beach. Time to get a traumatic injury?
We sure hope not. But there’s no denying that summer travel, sports and activities bring injury risks. In fact, doctors at a Pittsburgh hospital said the number of children who visit the ER with serious injuries nearly doubles in the summer months. The number of adults increases by up to 30%.
Fortunately, many injuries are preventable. Follow these tips for a smarter, safer summer:
Avoid water woes
- Always closely supervise kids around pools, lakes and rivers.
- Make sure everyone wears an approved life jacket when boating. Water wings and “floaties” aren’t enough.
- According to the S. Coast Guard, “boating under the influence is just as deadly as drinking and driving” — if not more so. Don’t drink and drive. Boats included.
- Fire pits are the big new thing in backyards across America, but they’re dangerous for smaller kids. Never leave children unsupervised near a fire, and watch them closely when they’re roasting hot dogs or making s’mores.
- When grilling, enforce a 3-foot “no kids zone” around your grill.
- Fourth of July fireworks are fun, but dangerous. Did you know that sparklers can burn at temperatures nearing 2,000°F? Best to leave pyrotechnics to the professionals.
Be wary of windows
- Opening windows lets in fresh air, just what we need after a long winter indoors. But window screens are not strong enough to keep kids from falling. Make sure your small children are protected by installing window guards or internal child safety locks.
Take care in the car
- The most important thing you can do to keep your family safe on car trips is buckle up. Make sure everyone wears a seat belt on every trip.
- Heat stroke is the second most common cause of automobile deaths for children. Even on a 70°F day, a car can reach life-threatening temperatures in just minutes. Experts recommend you never leave your child in a parked car, even for a minute.
Be smart about sports
- Kids are more active in the summer, and sports injuries abound. Help minimize serious injuries by making sure kids always wear the necessary protective gear for their activity, like bike helmets and knee pads.
- Dehydration is more common in summer. Have your kids bring water bottles to all their practices and games. Remind them to take at least a few gulps of water every 20 minutes or so.
- We’re all learning that concussions are serious business. Review the signs and symptoms of concussion and tell your kids they should speak up if they get hurt.
For more ways to keep kids safe in the summer — and all year long — visit usa.safekids.org.