The end of the school year is upon us. Soon, children will be outdoors enjoying everything the warmer weather has to offer. Unfortunately, in Richmond as in other parts of the country, the increase in outdoor activities typically comes with an increase in child emergency room visits.
Because we want you to have a safe and fun summer, the personal injury lawyers of Geoff McDonald & Associates, P.C., hope you will consider taking these safety steps:
In the Water
Swimming is one of the most popular activities for children in the summer. However, the risk of drowning is always a concern. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that two to three children die every single day in the U.S. from drowning. In fact, drowning is responsible for more deaths among children ages 1-4 than any other cause beyond birth defects.
- Always supervise children who are swimming.
- Take your child to swimming lessons. (If a child is not confident in the water, do not push the child beyond his or her comfort level.)
- Use flotation devices for children who are not strong swimmers.
- Learn CPR if you own a pool or spend a lot of time at swimming facilities.
- Keep your pool clean by using accurately measured chemicals that are kept out of reach of children when not in use.
- Frequently empty the pool of children for breaks. Make sure they are hydrated and eating, as fatigue and dehydration can make a medical emergency more likely
- Protect the pool when not in use by putting a gate around it.
In the Sun
Young children are at the greatest risk of suffering heat illness. Even those old enough to come in for a cool drink may be distracted by friends and forget they have not eaten all day. Heat exhaustion, sun burns and heat stroke can be very serious medical conditions.
- Dress children in cool, light weight clothing.
- Apply sunscreen with at least an SPF of 15 every day and reapply often when children are spending hours outside.
- Provide children often with cold water and other hydrating beverages when they are engaging in outdoor activity.
- Have your child relax in the shade or indoors for a snack and a cool down from time to time.
Falling off a bike, tripping over a stick in the yard and other accidents can cause a minor injury such as a scraped knee, but they could also result in broken bones and traumatic brain injuries.
- Provide a properly fitting helmet for riding bicycles, skateboards and other wheeled recreational toys.
- Supervise your child’s playground time.
- Do not allow horseplay on the playground such as jumping off a swing in motion or riding down slides head-first.
- Clear your yard of potential hazards frequently.
When Working Outside
Lawnmowers and other yard tools can pose extreme hazards for children of all ages. If you are working in the yard (or your child is helping out), adhere to these safety practices:
- Never use a lawnmower without closed-toe shoes.
- Wear sunglasses or safety goggles when operating all outside lawn tools.
- Keep children who are not helping out of the yard when you are mowing.
- If you walk away from a lawn tool, shut it off and stay nearby.
- Do not allow children to ride as passengers on riding lawnmowers.
- When children over the age of 12 use the lawnmower, stay in close proximity and monitor their work.
Summer should be a time for kicking back and having a good time. But many summer breaks are interrupted by child injuries. Fortunately, with a little care and preventative measures, many of these accidents can be avoided.