Each year, thousands of children die from drowning, with two-thirds of these deaths occurring in the summer. While it may not be a surprise that drowning increases during the summer months, parents are too often surprised by the ability of their children to bypass pool safety measures. Parents must remember that children are constantly learning new skills and a fence that is unclimbable one day can easily be surpassed the next. To protect kids, parents should install multiple layers of protective devices, with each successive layer offering another opportunity for parental intervention to avert a tragedy. Fences, door alarms, pool alarms and pool covers are all somewhat effective individually, but their effectiveness is increased dramatically when used in combination with one another.
Falls from heights kill 140 children under age 15 each year in the United States, and seriously injure three million more, making falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injury for this age group. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), falls are especially a problem for children living in multiple-story housing during the summer months, when windows are open and children are more likely to be playing on fire escapes, roofs and balconies. To keep kids safe, AAP recommends window guards be installed on second story and higher windows. When choosing guards, install those that are operable in the event of emergencies like a house fire.
Bike accidents kill more than 1,500 children ages 14 and under each year. Of these deaths, more than half occurred during the summer. According to the AAP, head injury from cycling is the most common cause of death (70% to 80% of cases) and the leading cause of disability. A recent study in Seattle, Washington, showed that helmets reduced the risk of head injury by 85% and brain injury by 88%. When purchasing a bike helmet, make sure it meets the bicycle helmet safety standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the Snell Memorial Foundation. Any helmet meeting these standards is labeled.
In 2000, approximately 30,000 emergency room visits were attributed to scooter injuries. With new models expected to be even more high tech, this number is expected to increase according to experts at WebMD. Across the country, laws governing scooter riding vary from no restrictions whatsoever, to some states like Rhode Island and New Jersey -- currently reviewing helmet requirements, to even stricter laws. In Florida, parents of kids riding scooters in traffic can even be ticketed. In addition to helmets, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends riders wear protective knee, elbow, and wrist pads.
Over 6,000 kids ages 14 and under die as a result of an unintentional pedestrian-related injury. Of these deaths, more than 40 percent occurred during the summer. Supervision of children is the key to survival, especially with latchkey children who are not in school during summer months. Setting boundaries as well as designated telephone check-in times with working parents goes a long way on the road to kid's safety on the streets.
More than 40 percent of the deaths of children in automobile accidents occur during the summer. Simple precautions can save lives. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that all kids under age 12 ride in the back seat and that proper child restraints are used. Front seat airbags present a significant danger to children and allowing them to ride in the cargo area of an SUV, station wagon, van or pickup truck is extremely hazardous.