Summertime is the time of year when we relax, take off our shoes, and enjoy some fun in the sun. Unfortunately for many children, summertime also poses a greater risk of physical injury. Every year more than three million kids under the age of 14 must receive emergency medical attention for serious and often life-threatening injuries, and over 2,000 kids will die as a result of these injuries.
There are several simple but important safety steps you can take to help make sure that your children have a safe and happy summer.
Drowning is the leading cause of preventable death for children between the ages of one and four. Many times children may only wander away for a minute while the parent is distracted, but the tragedies that can occur in that short time frame can last forever.
You should always make sure that your pool is surrounded on all sides by a fence tall enough to keep young children out. This fence should not be able to be easily opened. Be mindful of pool covers; if a child becomes trapped underneath they are often difficult to see through the cover.
Make sure that you have rescue equipment on hand in case of emergencies. Life preservers and even a tool known as a shepherd’s crook, a long pole with a rounded hook at the end, can make the difference between life and death in an emergency. Don’t be fooled by novelty and toy flotation devices; they aren’t designed to save lives. If a child is panicked and in danger of drowning, “arm floaties” will not protect them.
It is a good idea to send your kids to certified swimming lessons as soon as they are old enough. This simple step can reduce the chance of drowning by an astonishing 88%.
Most importantly, always make sure there is a trustworthy and vigilant adult to supervise when children are swimming. Most child deaths due to drowning occur when there is no adult present or the adult is distracted. The adult on watch should understand that they are there to save lives and should take that responsibility seriously.
Approximately 65% of all bicycle-related injuries that require emergency medical attention involve children below the age of 15.
Kids are always going to enjoy riding their bikes; its great exercise and great fun. Before your kids pedal off with their friends, ensure that they take the proper precautions.
Make sure your children always wear their helmets and that the helmet is adjusted correctly. There are many fun and edgy certified helmets available for kids these days, so “not looking cool” should never be an excuse. A helmet is often the only piece of equipment that makes the difference between life and death in an accident.
Keep your bicycles well-maintained. A poorly maintained bike is at a higher risk of an accident and if an accident occurs, the rider may be at a greater risk of injury. Adjust a child’s bike seat so it is two to four inches above the top bar. This will help make sure that the child’s legs don’t fully straighten and lock in the down pedal motion (which can lead to abrupt accidents). It is also important to make sure the tire pressure is at the correct level.
Teaching your kids the rules of the road including how to watch out for other vehicles will also be invaluable in avoiding accidents. If they will be riding on the road, they should know the rules of the road and how to obey traffic laws.
For more bicycling tips and information visit pedbikeinfo.org.
Each year in the United States, emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries.
About 75% of nonfatal injuries related to playground equipment occur on public playgrounds. Of these incidents, most occur at schools and daycare centers.
Make sure to teach your children proper playground etiquette and to only allow them to visit age-appropriate playgrounds. Some equipment is only made for older kids and may be dangerous to younger children, especially if not supervised. Always make sure there is a responsible adult on the scene where your child will be playing. This responsibility should not be taken lightly.
It is also a good idea to inspect any playground before letting your child play. Sometimes there are unforeseen hazards that are not readily visible. Always make sure that there is soft ground under the equipment in case of a fall, and keep an eye out for any deterioration that might cause sharp metal edges or lack of structural support.
Visit The National Recreation and Park Association’s website to get information on how you can become a certified playground instructor and help keep your community safe.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in an accident that was not your fault, or you feel you may have a medical malpractice related claim or need social security disability benefits, call Graves McLain, the Tulsa Personal Injury Law Firm for a free confidential consultation at 918-359-6600. An experienced attorney will review your situation at no cost to you. We represent victims and their families in serious injury and death cases arising from medical mistakes, vehicle collisions, and other accidents.
At Graves McLain, You Can Depend on Us