Written By: Dale Orlando
With the summer quickly approaching, there is an increased risk for unintentional injuries and accidents, particularly in children. When kids are jumping on their bicycles, running around the playground and splashing in the neighbour’s pool, accidents are bound to happen. This summer, take a proactive approach and protect your kids from potential injuries that come with the season. While trips and falls can easily be fixed with some rubbing alcohol and band aids, there are many injuries that can cause serious or long-term harm, and some that can even be fatal. Here are five injury risks for kids during the summer, and how to prevent them.
People often forget about the risk of overheating on a hot day until it is too late. Children are at a much greater risk of getting heat stroke because their bodies heat up three to five times faster than adults. Luckily, it is absolutely preventable. For starters, you should never leave your child in the car – not even for a couple of minutes. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, approximately every eight days a child dies of heatstroke while locked in a vehicle. Heat stroke can also occur outside of the vehicle, if a child spends long periods of time in the sun. Here are some tips that will help prevent your child from getting heat stroke this summer:
- Keep them hydrated with plenty of water.
- Never leave them in the car
- Keep your car doors locked at all times when not in use to prevent a child from climbing in and becoming trapped.
Drowning is among the leading causes of injury-related fatalities amongst children between the ages of one and four, and the third leading cause amongst children under 19 according to (Safe Kids Worldwide). Practice water safety and follow these steps to keep your kids safe this summer:
- Never leave a child unattended when around water.
- Babies can drown in as little as one inch of water.
- When around water, eliminate distractions such as your cell phone, and give your 100% attention to your kids.
- Empty all containers and wading pools immediately after use and store them upside down.
- Never rely on a lifeguard or a flotation device.
- Learn CPR.
- Take turns being the “watcher” when in a group of adults.
- Teach your kids to stay away from suction outlets.
3. Bicycle Safety
Regardless of how small your child may be, once their legs get peddling, a bicycle (and even a tricycle) can quickly become a safety hazard. Children between the ages of 5 and 14 are seen in emergency rooms for bike-related injuries more than any other sport. Teach them about bicycle safety to keep them safe throughout the season with these tips:
- Always wear a helmet.
- Helmets can reduce the risk of brain injury by 88% (Safe Kids Worldwide).
- Teach your child to the only ride on the sidewalks, especially when they are alone.
- Teach your child to always stop their bicycles completely when they reach a road, whether it is at a stop sign or signal lights, and to always be cautious of cars pulling out of driveways.
- Dress your child in reflective clothing when biking in the afternoon or evening.
- Always have a bell and reflectors on their bikes.
4. Pedestrian Safety
Being a pedestrian during the summer months can be dangerous. Small children generally aren’t outside by themselves, so teenagers are actually more at risk of pedestrian injuries. Their death rate is twice as high, and contributes to half of all pedestrian deaths (Safe Kids Worldwide). There’s no better time to teach your kids how to be a safe pedestrian. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Teach your child to walk on sidewalks, and to never jaywalk.
- Teach your child to look in all directions twice before crossing the street.
- Teach your child to put their electronic devices away when walking or playing outdoors.
- Depending on the age of your child, determine boundaries in which they are allowed to play in.
- For example, not crossing the major intersection a block away, or not crossing any roads at all.
5. Traffic and Driveway Safety
As a driver, you understand how alarming it can be to see children running behind your vehicle. As a rule of thumb, get in the habit of always looking in your mirrors and in all directions to ensure that no children are around before backing up. You also want to teach your children about traffic and driveway safety in case other adults are being negligent. It’s estimated that more than 9,000 children are treated in the ER each year for injuries that occurred while being unattended around a vehicle (Safe Kids Worldwide). You will want to be sure to:
- Teach your child the dangers of vehicles, and let them know that the drivers can’t always see them.
- Teach your child to look in driveways before crossing them, and if a car appears, to stand back until it has backed out completely.
- Always accompany small children (preferably hold their hand) when in or around vehicles, whether on residential streets or in a parking lot.
Bumps and bruises can easily be fixed, but there are many injuries that can cause significant harm to your children. Practice these safety tips, and ensure that the summer months will continue to be enjoyable for your whole family.