After hearing the story the other night of a friend’s child whose life was saved by wearing a helmet, I decided to re-post this as we head into the fun of summer. Let’s make it a safe one!
A few years back, sitting by the side of a neighbor’s pool, as the kids frolicked with their friends, I learned a little something about drowning. Other moms were standing by the edge; some with their feet on the top step in the water. We were all right there, alternately chatting and watching the kids. One of the older girls in the pool grabbed what she thought was the hair of the life size Barbie doll they had been playing with moments before, and pulled her up from the bottom. She was shocked to find one of her little neighbors instead. The little girl coughed, and reached for her mother as she started to cry. Apparently she had just walked right into the pool, past all the chatting moms, not realizing she couldn’t swim, and had SILENTLY sank to the bottom. No splashing, no screams; not like in the movies. It was eerily silent, and we all had been right there. The whole scene took place in an instant. We had just witnessed what a real drowning would look like. We were in shock, and acutely aware of the serendipity that the older girl had decided to play with the doll at that instant, in doing so she had unwittingly saved a life.
Summer is a magical time of year for children, and filled with opportunities for amusement. By knowing what to watch out for as we head into school vacation we can help to keep our children safe while they enjoy their summertime fun. Between the months of May and August unintentional injury deaths peak for children under 14 years old. Below are the top five culprits that parents need to be aware of, and the proper precautions to take to protect kids, and enjoy summer safely.
Nearly 9 out of 10 fatal events occur during a brief lapse in supervision. A child can drown in a matter of seconds, as I learned in the frightening lesson above. My kids spent their years learning to swim looking like little Michelin men in their floatation devises. At least I knew they wouldn’t sink!
2.Avoid Bicycle Injuries.
The most common injuries are broken bones, but head injuries can be life threatening. A helmet is the single most effective safety device for reducing the severity of head injuries and the likelihood of death following a bicycle crash. Even if your kid falls and hits their head in your own driveway it can be serious.
3. Avoid Falls.
Falls are the most common summertime injury to send kids to the hospital, trampolines and playground equipment are top culprits. Toddlers are most at risk for falls from windows.
4.Safety For Motorized Vehicle Accidents.
Although the summer is generally a more relaxed time of year, car safety should be followed in the same way as the rest of the year. Teenagers are responsible for a large percentage of all motor vehicle accidents.
5.Stay Clear Of Burns.
In younger kids these are usually cooking burns or water burns, in older kids campfires and fireworks.
I would love to still be able to dress my kids in those protective floating bubble suits as I did when they were little, but I’m pretty sure they would not stand for it now. As parents if we make sure kids are actively supervised when in or around water, and keep them protected with appropriate safety gear we can give them the best odds at a safe and enjoyable summer!