Tips for Summer Safety
Summer is a fun and active season for many families. But these activities also mean increased injuries. Accidental injuries are the leading cause of death in childhood – more than all disease-related deaths combined. This brochure includes some helpful tips for your family to have a safe, injury-free summer.
Head injuries are the most common cause of disabling injuries in the United States. They can result from a variety of different causes, including motor vehicle accidents, falls and sports. Make sure your children are protected from head injuries this summer.
- Never allow children to ride in the cargo area of pickup trucks or vans.
- Adults should always wear a seat-belt.
- Children age 12 and under should always ride in the back seat and be properly restrained.
- Children should always ride in the appropriate safety seat for their height and weight (review height and weight guidelines in your seat’s instruction manual).
- Make sure your children wear helmets every time they ride and that the helmets fit snugly and cover the forehead.
- If you ride in the street, obey all traffic signs (stop signs, merge and traffic lights).
- When riding at night, wear reflective clothing and use a bike light.
- Make sure your child’s bike is the right size.
Skateboards and roller blades
- Safe riders wear helmets, gloves, elbow and knee pads.
- Long sleeved shirts and pants provide extra protection.
- Make sure that your children roller blade or skateboard on designated paths or trails, never on public streets or sidewalks.
- Safe playgrounds have shock absorbing material (rubber, gravel, or wood chips) around the equipment.
- All playground equipment should be at least six feet from fences and walks and be firmly anchored and well-maintained.
- Always supervise young children using playground equipment.
- Children playing on equipment should not wear draw strings, necklaces, or loose-fitting clothing because of the risk of strangulation.
- Trampolines can be very dangerous and are not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
All Terrain Vehicle’s (ATV) (Content courtesy of ATV Safety Institute www.atvsafety.com)
- Always wear a DOT-compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves.
- Never ride on paved roads except to cross when done safely and permitted by law – another vehicle could hit you. ATVs are designed to be operated off-highway.
- Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV, and no more than one passenger on an ATV specifically designed for two people.
- Ride an ATV that’s right for your age.
- Supervise riders younger than 16; ATVs are not toys.
- Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.
Burns are the second leading cause of injury-related deaths in childhood, after head injuries. A child can sustain a serious burn in three seconds in water that is 104 degrees F. Because children have thinner skin, they can be severely burned at lower temperatures than adults.
- Have a smoke detector on every level of your home. Put them in open areas, not in corners.
- If you smoke, use a child-proof cigarette lighter.
- Teach your children what to do in the event of a fire – such as stop, drop and roll.
- Have a fire escape plan and practice it.
- Keep children away from hot outdoor grills.
- Do not use flammable liquids – like lighter fluid, gasoline or kerosene – on fires.
- Never leave children alone near a campfire.
- Home fireworks are not recommended. If they are used, it should only be by an adult. It’s preferable to take children to professionally run firework displays.
Drowning is the third leading cause of injury-related deaths in children age 14 and under, with more than 50 percent of all drownings occurring during the summer. Half of all preschool-age pool drownings occur in the child’s own pool, and another third in pools at the homes of friends and neighbors. Children can drown in less than one inch of water.
- Obey public pool posted restrictions, such as those restricting running, diving and horseplay.
- If you own a pool, be sure you have a fence with a locking gate to prevent unsupervised use.
- Never allow diving from the side of the pool.
- Have a portable phone at the pool to avoid leaving children unattended to answer the phone.
- If you have a backyard swimming pool, keep it covered when not in use.
- Keep toys, especially wheeled toys, away from the pool area to prevent accidental falls into the water.
- Remember that swimming lessons do not make children drown-proof. Children should always be supervised by an adult.
- Learn CPR!
- Never leave children unattended in a hot tub.
- Make sure the hot tub has a locking top to protect against unsupervised use.
General Outdoor Safety
It is important to remember that while accidents can be avoided, there are many other summertime hazards, including dehydration, sunburn, bites and stings and pesticide poisoning.
- Make sure your child drinks plenty of non-caffeinated liquids.
- Reapply sunscreen often when children are playing in the sun and water; sunscreen should be a minimum of SPF 15 and provide ultra-violet A and B protection.
- Limit the time children play in the sun, especially near the water.
- Be aware that drinking sweetened drinks attracts bees and wasps. Cover open cans.
- Keep children (and pets) indoors when lawn chemicals are being applied.
Develop a Plan for Emergency Situations
- Post emergency numbers next to each phone in your house such as: 911, poison control, your child’s pediatrician’s office and exchange.
- In case of a medical emergency with a child, determine where the nearest accredited, Level I pediatric trauma center is located.
- All caregivers should know your preference for which hospital a child should be taken in case of an emergency.
(Content courtesy of St. Louis Children’s Hospital)