It’s officially here. For the kids, summertime should be full of fun and made of memories. Too often it is not. The National Safe Kids Campaign estimates that every year, one in four kids ages 14 and younger will sustain an injury that requires medical attention. 40% of all injury-related emergency room visits, and 42% of all injury deaths happen between May and August.
Now the good news: “We can keep kids free from about 90% of these accidents by educating ourselves and our kids on how to stay safe while still enjoying summer vacation,” according to a report from the Safe Kids Campaign. It’s our responsibility as moms and dads to review a summer safety checklist, take the necessary precautions, and discuss them with your children.
This is hardly a complete list, but these are some of the major areas of concern:
Bikes & Helmets
Be sure your child wears a good, safety approved helmet to significantly reduce injuries. Also, be sure your child follows basic bicycling safety rules. Look right and left at an intersection, stay on the right side of the road and be careful around pedestrians. It’s also a good idea to have a bicycle go through a safety check at the start of the new season to make sure brakes and other devices are in good operating condition.
A recent study notes that most kids’ head injuries go unreported. If your child suffers a hit in the head, whether falling at the playground or from a bicycle accident, it’s best to have him/her checked out. Some injuries don’t become evident until much later.
Stay alert for kids while driving
As much as we parents tell kids to be careful, remember that they are young and just don’t think maturely. For that reason, it’s up to us to be extra cautious. Kids on bikes can come out of nowhere. Be especially cautious in school zones and playground areas. Remember, some kids are still in school during parts of the summer. There are also day camps and Vacation Bible School.
Theme Parks – Amusement Parks – Fairs
Well-managed and well-known theme parks and amusement parks are generally safe.
This year, however, we’ve had some terrible tragedies at zoos and even at Disney World. These types of accidents are very uncommon, but they do happen. For this reason, even when you assume a place to be safe, it’s necessary to watch your children closely at all times.
More common accidents happen on rides such as roller coasters, water slides, bumper cars, and spinning rides. They cause thousands of injuries each year. Many times these accidents happen at traveling fairs and carnivals when the equipment is older. Use your judgement here. If you suspect a ride doesn’t look safe, don’t take a chance. Pass it by.
There are many instances of kids getting hurt on older playground equipment that has not been inspected in a while. It’s always a good idea to pay close attention to the swings and slides. Again, if they seem old, squeaky and rusty, stay away.
Beware of Dogs
Kids and dogs just naturally love each other. Still, health officials say dogs bite or attack more than 4.5 million people each year, killing an average of 20 people. Young children are often the most vulnerable to these attacks, according to a report from CNN.
Teach your children to approach dogs with caution and always with adult supervision. And when it the sign says “Beware of Dog,” take it seriously.
Most bug bites are harmless. Some are more dangerous, especially when a child has an allergy. It’s a good idea to have a bee sting antidote kit handy as part of your first aid kit. Also, a good insect repellent is effective. Some recommend those with DEET for older children. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends – as a DEET alternative – repellents that contain picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Both are non-toxic and able to reduce mosquito bites. Best advice: Check with your doctor for what’s best.
Swimming and Sun
Summer means swimming and sunshine. It brings to mind the old “3 second rule.” When you have young children swimming it can take only a few seconds for them to get into serious trouble in the water. You must keep your eyes on them at all times. Even when there is a certified lifeguard, he/she can sometimes miss a child in danger. Heed warning signs that say NO SWIMMING.
It’s always recommended to get the kids certification for swimming by the Red Cross or your local YMCA. Parents should consider learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Your CPR skills could save someone’s life.
If you have your own home pool, be sure you follow all legal requirements, such as having a four-sided fence around your pool. You don’t want the liability of having a child wander into your pool unsupervised.
No matter what the age, guard against the hot sun and humidity. Use a good sun screen that blocks harmful rays. Take breaks every 20 minutes. Hydrate with sports drinks. Infants need to be covered up with clothing that helps their tender skin from the UV rays.Don’t forget allergies to bug bites!
Finally, two more necessary reminders in this world we live in today:
- Always remind your children to stay away from strangers. If one approaches, tell them to run for safety and report this to an adult or police officer.
- Summer is also a time kids may have more time on the computer. Monitor what they are looking at and who they are talking to. People who want to do your child harm may be closer to you than you think.
This safety list is provided as a public service by your friends at TauberLaw Offices. These tips are only meant to be guidelines and not any type of legal or official advice.
However, if by chance, one of your loved ones experiences serious injury from an accident this summer, caused by the negligence of others, please call Tauber Law Offices for a free consultation. The welfare of your children is incredibly important to us. We will fight for you and the rights of your child.
The more you keep safety in mind, the more likely you are to have a glorious summer to remember.
FINALLY — HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!