Keep kids safe this summer

  • By Katie Murdoch Enterprise editor
  • Tuesday, August 3, 2010 7:42pm

Members of a countywide agency aimed at keeping children safe are offering tips on how to protect kids from preventable injuries this summer.

“In the injury prevention community, summer is also known as ‘trauma season’ because of the dramatic increase in the number of children injured from May through August,” said Shawneri Guzman, Safe Kids Snohomish County coordinator, in a press release.

Safe Kids Snohomish County works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children between the ages 1 to 14.

This summer, children ages 14 and under will be rushed to emergency rooms nearly 3 million times for serious injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes, drowning, bike crashes, pedestrian incidents, falls and other hazards, according to Safe Kids.

The agency offers the following tips for parents and caregivers:

• actively supervise children while playing and swimming

• use bike helmets, seat belts and life jackets

• set an example by following safety rules

• remove head and neck drawstrings from clothing while playing on playgrounds

Leslie Hynes, Fire District 1 spokeswoman, said the common safety issues FD 1 responds to during the summer are falling out of windows, drowning and bicycling accidents.

FD 1 firefighters responded to a fall in June involving a 3-year-old boy tumbling from a second-floor window in Edmonds, Hynes said.

Adults shouldn’t rely on window screens alone, which can easily give, Hynes warned. Adults are encouraged to keep furniture away from windows that children can climb on and to consider installing window guards.

Many parents falsely assume their child is OK after falling out of a window, said Kristen Thorstenson, a spokeswoman for Marysville Fire District. Some will drive their children to the hospital, thinking they’re taking a precaution, when they should have called 911.

As for water safety, FD 1 recommends adults should designate one parent as “Water Watcher” to ensure at least one person is supervising.

At Martha Lake, swimmers can borrow a life jacket for free from a cabinet operated by Safe Kids and Fire District 1.

Thorstenson warned people expect someone drowning will thrash and make noise. That’s not always the case.

“Kids can get into trouble really quickly and quietly,” she said.

She has noticed many kids are dropped off at parks and lakes for the day and picked up later, leaving them unsupervised for hours, even at lakes without lifeguards.

It can be a challenge to supervise energetic children, Thorstenson said. But the reality is simple.

“I hate to say it, but it all comes down to supervision,” she said. “No one likes to be told what to do, but supervision is big.”

FD 1 emphasizes wearing bike helmets as they lower the risk of head and brain injuries by 85 percent. Helmets are available for a suggested donation of $7 at all fire stations in Fire District 1, Mountlake Terrace and Edmonds.

Additionally, adults should ensure children are buckled up properly while riding in cars. FD 1 offers child car seat checks by appointment twice a month. Hynes said about 90 percent of the seats staff see are installed incorrectly, putting children and babies at risk. Information about the appointments is available at

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