A few years back, sitting by the side of a neighbor’s pool, as the kids frolicked with their friends, I learned a little something about drowning. Other moms were standing by the edge, some with their feet on the top step in the water. We were all right there, alternately chatting and watching the kids. One of the older girls in the pool grabbed what she thought was the hair of the life size Barbie doll they had been playing with moments before, and pulled her up from the bottom of the pool. She was shocked to find one of her little neighbors instead. The little girl coughed, and reached for her mother as she started to cry. Apparently she had just walked right into the pool, not realizing she couldn’t swim, and she SILENTLY sank to the bottom. No splashing, no screams; it was not like in the movies. It was eerily silent, and we had been right there. The whole scene took place in an instant. That is what a real drowning would look like. We were in shock, and acutely aware of the serendipity that the older girl decided to play with the doll at that instant. She had unwittingly saved a life.
Between the months of May and August unintentional injury deaths peak for children under 14 years old. Below are the top five culprits that parents need to be aware of, and the proper precautions to take to protect kids, and enjoy summer safely.
Nearly 9 out of 10 fatal events occur during a brief lapse in supervision. A child can drown in a matter of seconds, as I learned in the frightening lesson above. My kids spent their years learning to swim looking like little Michelin men. At least I knew they wouldn’t sink!
The most common injuries are broken bones, but head injuries can be life threatening. A helmet is the single most effective safety device for reducing the severity of head injuries and the likelihood of death following a bicycle crash. Even if your kid falls and hits their head in your own driveway it can be just as serious.
Trampolines and playground equipment are top culprits. Toddlers are most at risk for falls from windows.
4.Motorized Vehicle Accidents.
Although the summer is generally a more relaxed time of year, car safety should be followed in the same way as the rest of the year. Teenagers are a large percentage of all motor vehicle accidents.
In younger kids these are usually cooking burns or water burns, in older kids campfires and fireworks.
Unfortunately we can’t keep our kids in a protective bubble, but by making sure they are actively supervised when in or around water and having them protected with appropriate safety gear, they have the best odds and are sure to have a blast this summer!