School’s (almost) out for summer! And every kid is counting down the days! Staying seated and focusing has become impossible. ‘Summer-brain’ has affected every child, and teachers just have to endure until that final day.!
Summer means that children will be outside playing more, and that’s good! Just don’t send them out without taking a good look around and asking yourself, “Is this an obvious accident just waiting to happen?”
There are a number of common injuries that send children from the backyard to the local hospital during the summer months – injuries that can be prevented by simply taking a few minutes to stop and think. Though we can’t avoid all injuries, by being alert and implementing a few precautions, everyone will benefit and increase the possibility a very happy ending.
Five Common Kid-Injuries and Prevention Tips
1. Playground and Bike Falls
Choose playgrounds with softer surfaces. Mulch or shredded-tires are good. Your child is sure to take a spill, so make the landing as cushy as possible to avoid a worse injury!
Bikes account for hundreds of thousands of summer injuries in children. Perform a basic check on your child’s bike before they use it. Teach them hand signals, to look and look again before crossing intersections, and do not let them on their bike without a helmet! Many fatal injuries are often due to this highly preventable cause. Enforce the wearing of a helmet.
Many other serious falls can be prevented in very young children by installing rails, gates, or fences.
Figures vary, but near 30 percent of children between one and four years of age drown every summer. The saddest part is that many of these take place in their own backyard and could have been prevented.
Pools should be entirely enclosed by a sturdy fence.
All children need swimming lessons!
If you cannot reach out and touch your child when near water, then he or she is too far away.
Require that safe floatation devices be worn at all times appropriate for size.
Learn CPR if you have not already, and never leave your child with a baby sitter who is not certified.
Campfires and fireworks are fun, but only when those responsible for tending to the safety of the people around are alert. Use common sense. Never assume a small campfire or a few little sparklers are harmless. Stay watchful.
Indoor cooking is actually one of the greatest dangers to children. Reaching up to a hot stove top or spilling boiling hot water on themselves is very common. In fact, I have a five inch scar on my upper right arm from a first degree burn which I incurred from spilling boiling hot water on myself when I was two years old. Stay alert!
Speaking of fires, this would be a great time to schedule a family fire escape plan. Plan your escape route then practice your plan! Make it an annual event of fun! It could save your life or your child’s.
This list can be very long. More than 300 children are treated every day as a result of being poisoned. Tragically, two of these children die. Be aware of unexpected poisons like citronella oil in Tiki torches, cosmetics and, of course, household cleaners and medications.
Place this number in your phone, on the refrigerator or wherever you may need it:
Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222)
Visit the Poison Center website for a more complete list of poisons.
And then take this Summer Safety Survey http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=Dyrbefw_2fRUpJT9W5tooKHg_3d_3d to see how well you know your poisons and what to do if poisoning occurs! Though the questions are worded so the answers are pretty obvious, the information you will gain in the process could be life-saving!
5. Vehicle and Traffic Accidents
This is no surprise. Statistics abound and are just a click away. How many lives could have been saved by simply wearing seat belts, driving responsibly, and taking that privilege seriously? Millions. Children are the least able to endure such violent impacts. Proper car seats and placement in the back seat should never be an option, even if you are just driving down to the corner store.
This not only applies to in car road safety, but also to all-terrain vehicles, motorized scooters, golf carts, etc. Risk of injury is always present. Children must be properly supervised on or around any of these vehicles.
Summer fun is a privilege!
All privileges come with responsibility. Yes – even summer fun is a privilege! As parents or caregivers of children we must never forget that. But life will always be full of potentially dangerous situations and we need not become paranoid and keep our children from enjoying fun. Simply be attentive, use common sense, take a bit of time to educate yourself if need be…then step out into the joyful sunshine of summer!