Summer is here, and the Kessler Foundation (one of the largest nonprofits serving people with physical disabilities) and its chapter of ThinkFirst (a national injury prevention program that teaches children how to decrease their risk of experiencing a disabling injury) would like to take this opportunity to provide parents with some important tips to help keep children safe during these busy and active months. Nearly half of all childhood injury-related deaths take place in the summer months–and many of those can be prevented without compromising a moment of anyone’s fun in the sun!
1. Check all outdoor toys that have been stored during the winter to insure no wheels are loose, no pieces are missing, and there is no other wear that would make the toy unsafe for children. For new toys, check the packaging for warning labels and consider checking online to be sure that the toy is considered safe by child safety advocates.
2. Insist that your children wear a helmet every time they ride their bike, skateboard or rollerblade. Studies have shown wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of a head injuries by as much as 85 percent. When purchasing a helmet, insure that it fits properly and meets or exceeds the safety standards developed by American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and/or the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
3. At the pool, experts recommend that young children do not dive at all, while older children should only do so in at least eight feet of water with arms extended out in front. Also teach all children to look before they leap into the water–it’s the only way to be sure that they won’t land in a crowded area of the water and potentially injure both themselves and others.
4. Always require children to wear a seatbelt while riding in a car and check to be sure that the belt is snug across their hips. If your car becomes really hot, take care to avoid “buckle burns”–this can be a particular problem for young children who are still in car seats. And, of course, NEVER leave a child unattended in a car!