As you start to arrange your family’s summer activities, plan ahead to make sure your kids stay safe while they have fun. Many popular summer pastimes pose potential dangers. These include drowning, playground injuries, burns from fireworks, heat-related illness, and falls from taking dangerous vacation selfies.
Drownings are the leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1 to 4, and three children die every day as a result of drowning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The best way to prevent drowning is by providing constant supervision by an adult who can swim,” said Aleksandr Rakhlin, MD, FACS, of Highland Medical, P.C. Highland Surgical Associates and Trauma Medical Director at Montefiore Nyack Hospital. “Ensure your family will have a safe and fun summer by being vigilant and limiting distractions.”
The best safety measures prevent accidents before they happen, like teaching your child to swim and using Coast Guard-approved life vests. Other safety tips to keep in mind are:
- Teach your children basic water safety tips, including how to swim and have them wear a life jacket when they are on a boat.
- Don’t let children out of your sight at beaches, pools, and lakes.
- If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first.
- Lifeguards aren’t babysitters. Make sure there is a designated parent or responsible adult who can swim to watch your child at all times.
- Understand the basics of life-saving and CPR for both children and adults, so that you can assist in a pool emergency.
- Remind your children to stay away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings to avoid entrapments.
- Install proper barriers, covers, and alarms on and around your pool and spa.
- Have a portable telephone close by at all times when using a pool or spa.
Playground and Sports Injuries
- Make sure that the surfaces under playground equipment are safe, soft, and well-maintained.
- Supervise young children at all times around stairs and playground equipment.
- Use stair gates, which can help keep a busy, active child from taking a dangerous fall.
- Avoid concussions during sports activities by making sure your kids and teens wear the right protective equipment for their sport or recreation activity.
Heat-related illness is most dangerous for very young children, but older children and teens can be affected if they participate in strenuous physical activity in the heat. To avoid heat-related illness:
- Drink plenty of water; don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
- Wear loose, light-colored, lightweight clothing and a hat.
- Avoid the outdoors during the hottest part of the day, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m
- Never leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.
Children should never play with fireworks, including firecrackers, rockets, and sparklers. If you give kids sparklers, make sure they keep them outside and away from the face, clothing, and hair. Sparklers can reach 1,800°F — hot enough to melt gold.
If you have a selfie-obsessed teen, it’s important to go over common-sense rules for taking pictures that will keep them safe. Never take a selfie:
- While driving
- Near the edge of a mountain ledge or rooftop
- In the street
- From the rail of a boat
- On or near high voltage power lines
- Around or near wild animals
- On train tracks
- While operating dangerous equipment
Safe Barbeque Habits
Use these common-sense tips for barbequing from the National Fire Protection Association:
- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
- The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
- Never leave your grill unattended.
- Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.