Each summer, almost 3 million emergency room visits will be made involving children ages 14 and under who have sustained a serious injury due to pedestrian accidents, car accidents, trips and falls, and other incidents. Many emergency room staff are actually preparing for the summer season, sadly expecting to see more children in the emergency room. Experts predict that about 2000 children will die due to preventable injuries during the summer months.
To keep your children safe and healthy this summer:
1) Practice active supervision at all times. Active supervision means that adults and parents are not only present, but are also fully engaged in watching children during their summertime activities at all times. This means that the adult supervisors are not reading, talking on the phone, or taking part in other activities. The supervisor is alert to any possible dangers at all times, and ready to act quickly in the event of an injury.
2) Practice pool smarts. Pools pose a serious drowning hazard for children. If you have a small, pool, or hot tub, you need to have a sturdy gate and a fence around the pool that is at least 4 feet high. Your pool or hot tub should have a safety valve and release as well as a drain cover that has an anti-entrapment device or feature. Many people feel that inflatable pools do not pose a danger, but they’re just as dangerous as full-sized pools. They need to be surrounded by a fence or emptied out completely when not in use. Even small inflatable pools have enough water for a child to drown.
3) Give your kids the right gear for their summer activities. Helmets for sports and bicycling, for example, can help prevent brain injuries. If you will be traveling with your child this summer, make sure that they have a booster seat or car seat. To prevent boating accidents, make sure that your children have a well fitted life jacket at all times when you are on your boat.
4) Stay safe on the playground. If you have your playground at home, make sure that there’s at least 12 inches of soft surfacing — such as sand, mulch, shredded rubber, or another synthetic product — at least 6 feet around all equipment. No matter what playground equipment your child is playing on, make sure that your child is not wearing any drawstrings or any hoods that can pose a choking hazard.
4) Take a look around your home and property. Remove any poison or toxic material from your home. If you have cleaning products, for example, place them in a secure and locked cabinet. Outside, remove poisonous plants, pool chemicals, and pesticides from any area where children have access.
5) Always check your car and walk around your car before locking it. Each summer, up to six children die because they’re left unattended in a hot car. A car can become warm enough to seriously injure or kill a child in just minutes on a hot day, and even on overcast or mild days, temperatures inside a car can be dangerous to a child’s health.