Did you know injuries among children increase dramatically during the summer? In fact, childhood injuries and accidental deaths in the summer months account for 42 percent of the average annual total, according to a study conducted by the National Safe Kids Campaign. Read our list of five safety hazards and tips to avoid accidents and harm.
Bikes and Scooters
Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death among children, exceeding those from falls, fires, poisoning and bicycle and pedestrian injuries. Close supervision by a responsible adult is the best way to prevent drowning in children. Backyard pools should be fenced off completely to keep unsupervised kids away. To help prevent injuries and accidents related to swimming and playing in the water, enroll children in swimming lessons. Swimming is a great form of exercise, teaches your child important life-saving skills and reduces their fear of the water.
Children should wear life jackets at all times when on boats or near bodies of water. Another way to safeguard kids while swimming is to swim at pools and lakes that have a lifeguard on duty. In addition, encourage children to have a swim buddy with them in the water at all times. Also watch out for the quiet signs of drowning: an inability to call for help, mouth and head down close to the water and an upright body that is trying to swim or grab something but is unable to.
Keep children and yourself safe while grilling by paying extra attention while using the grill, especially with lighter fluid and matches. Always set up the grill outside in an open area away from structures, play areas, overhanging plants and foot traffic. Parents are also encouraged to enforce a 3-foot kid-free zone around the grill and any other hot surfaces.
Falling is the leading cause of accidents for children playing on playgrounds. While falls are fairly common for young children, they can sometimes be serious and can result in broken bones and concussions. Before your child jumps on those monkey bars, look for possible hazards on the playground. Is the ground covered in concrete? Are there exposed pieces like nails or S-hooks? Is the surface hot to the touch? Making sure the playground is both safe and age-appropriate will help ensure your child stays safe and has fun.
Next to motor vehicle injuries, bicycles injure children more than any other consumer product. Make sure your child is safe while enjoying the nice weather by equipping kids with a properly-fitting helmet. Helmets should fit snugly and not rock side to side. The strap should be securely fastened with space for about two fingers between the chin and strap.
Of course, don’t forget the sunscreen! On average, children get three times the amount of sun exposure adults do, which is why it’s so important to protect their skin. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Apply a generous amount of sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming, sweating, or drying off with a towel. In addition to using the recommended amount of sunscreen, it’s also suggested children wear hats and loose, light-weight clothing with long sleeves to prevent excess exposure. Long-sleeved swim shirts or rash guards are a great way to reduce their sun exposure in and around the water. Babies under six months of age should be kept in the shade as much as possible.
Also remember to keep kids hydrated throughout the day and look out for signs of heat exhaustion: weakness, muscle cramps, rapid breathing, heavy sweating, and a racing heart rate.