According to organizations such as World Against Toys Causing Harm’s (W.A.T.C.H.) and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), summertime is a peak time for injuries to minors and children. As more kids and teens enjoy their summer vacation, they spend more time unsupervised and this can lead to accidents. In addition, many Florida injuries to teens and minors occur due to toys and recreation items. According to WATCH and the CPSC, there are several things that parents can do to help prevent these types of injuries:
1) Do not assume a product is safe. Parents should check for recalled items regularly. Some very popular and widely available toys are recalled each year, and this always tends to catch parents and kids off-guard. Register toys and electronic gadgets when you buy them – to be altered about warnings and recalls – and check the CPSC site regularly for recalls. Even if a product is not recalled, check its condition and use your common sense. A product may not be recalled but may still have unsafe sharp edges. A small child chewing on a toy may make that toy unsafe.
2) Ensure that children have correct safety gear for in-line skate shoes, scooters, skateboards, and in-line skates. Helmets, elbow pads and knee pads can help prevent many of the injuries emergency rooms see each summer. The CPSC notes that up to 90% of bicycle accident fatalities can be prevented with proper use of a helmet. Each year, thousands of Florida brain injuries are caused by bicyclists not wearing helmets correctly. Do not let this happen to your child.
3) Use trampolines with caution. Each year, trampoline-related injuries cause broken bones, paralysis, and neck and head injuries. Make sure that you get an approved trampoline and use it according to the directions. Never allow small children or unsupervised children to play on a trampoline.
4) Check playground equipment carefully before allowing children to play on it. Poor ground cover can cause broken bones in a playground while loose clothing can pose a choking hazard on slides and monkey bars. Some playgrounds have toxic surfaces. As well, some unanchored playground equipment, such as soccer goals, can tip and injure children. Less serious injuries can also happen on playgrounds. Each year, thousands of minor Florida burn injuries are caused when children touch or come into contact with hot metal surfaces on the playground.
5) Secure windows with window guards. Children playing in a separate room can easily fall through a window without this precaution.
6) If you purchase small mini-hammocks for your children, make sure that they have a spreader bar. Models without this bar can entrap children and cause suffocation.