Each summer, along with the warmer weather and pesky mosquitoes, there’s an increase in the number of accidents involving children. In fact, unintentional injury continues to rank No. 1 as the cause of death for children age 14 and under in our country — with summertime far and away the most dangerous time of year for kids.
The reasons are obvious — kids are out of school and spending more time outside, participating in a variety of recreational endeavors. After all, that’s what summer is all about.
We’ve still got plenty of summer ahead of and us and everyone could use a little reminder to watch out for the following dangers:
n Water safety: It’s not at all surprising that drowning is the number one cause of summer deaths for children. Although enticing and refreshing, water — especially rivers and streams — can be unpredictable. Life jackets and supervision (yes, even in the backyard kiddie pool) are two essential elements for fun in the sun water play.
n Hyperthermia: This can happen when a child is left unattended inside a parked car. This one ought to be obvious, yet each year children die after being left inside a vehicle with the windows rolled up. Even if the temperature isn’t sweltering, the inside of a car can become oven-like in a matter of minutes. While no parent ever wants to risk waking a sleeping child, it is never appropriate to leave a child unattended (napping or otherwise) inside a parked car. Ditto for the family pet.
n Falls: Unfortunately, these types of accidents aren’t splashy or dramatic and rarely merit even the briefest mention on the evening news report. Sadly, they do happen far too often and are almost always preventable. Tips for preventing injuries include insisting that children wear protective gear (like helmets) while riding a bike, using rollerblades or scooters, as well as double-checking to ensure a safe cycling environment.
Emergency workers are also starting to see an increase in the number of children injured falling out of windows or down staircases. Window screens are great for keeping insects out of a room, but they make poor safety-barriers for a tumbling child. Keeping cribs and beds away from windows is a great place to start.
n Seat belts. Using the right child restraint systems in vehicles have always been an excellent idea. Now, they’re also the law. Enough said.
If wrapping your precious child in bubble wrap and attaching them to your leg with Velcro simply isn’t an option for you this summer, a mindful approach to summer safety will probably do the trick.