By Josue H. Cortes, MD, FAAP
As summer approaches and temperatures heat up, we all start thinking about the fun times that we’ll spend with our loved ones. At First Choice Pediatrics, we also think it is a good time to review, or learn, some safety guidelines that will help to keep us safe while we enjoy this time of the year.
Topping the list is drowning.
According to the CDC, from 2005-2014, there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States — about ten deaths per day, and an additional 332 people died each year from drowning in boating-related incidents. About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger. It is even more despairing to see these numbers when many of these could have been easily avoided.
Here are some basic tips to avoid this happening to you or your family:
- Learn how to swim. There are YMCA programs which are accessible and affordable for all age groups.
- Know your limits. Whenever you’re in doubt about your ability, wear a life jacket. It is actually recommended to wear a life jacket anytime there are no lifeguards present or whenever you are boating, tubing, or rafting.
- Close supervision of children is a must with any type of water activity.
- Know the water that you’re getting into. Check how cold and how fast it is running. Check how deep or shallow it is before jumping in.
The summer also involves quite a bit of traveling.
Motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death among children in the United States, but many of these deaths can be prevented. In the United States, 663 children ages 12 years and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes during 2015, and more than 121,350 were injured in 2014.
Here is a table to remind us of the recommendations for car seats and seat belt use in children:
Another issue to remember, as families get together and there are lots of children around, is the danger of poisoning.
Every day, over 300 children in the United States ages 0 to 19 are treated in an emergency department as a result of accidental poisoning.
Here is a review of some poisoning prevention tips:
- Store all household products out of children’s sight and reach.
- Install child safety locks on cabinets where you have stored poisonous items.
- Read product labels to find out what can be poisonous to your kids.
- Don’t leave poisonous products unattended while in use.
- Keep cleaning products in their original containers.
- Throw away old medicines and other potential poisons which you are no longer using.
- Always keep the number for poison control handy (800) 222-1222.
The last section of our blog is dedicated to what we will refer as other outside activities.
Outside activities include playground activities, bicycling, skateboarding, trampoline jumping, and many others. It would be a daunting task to come up with an all-inclusive list of ways to prevent accidents covering all of these activities; however, there are some generic guidelines that can definitely help:
- Close supervision at all times is the most important of all guidelines.
- Use equipment the way it was intended and follow all instructions.
- Use safety gear such as helmets with chin guards, knee pads, elbow pads, and shoes appropriate for the activity.
- We can’t forget fire safety as there will be plenty of barbecues and fireworks. Always stay alert when near an active flame, and educate your children about the dangers of playing with fire.
- Also, remember to protect your children from bugs, mostly mosquitoes, which can cause a range of issues from just itching and discomfort all the way to severe illnesses.
Thank you for taking the time to review this information. From our family at First Choice Pediatrics to your family, we want to wish you a happy, enjoyable, and most of all, safe summer!!!
Information present in the article came from the following sources.