With the pandemic mostly behind us and summer here, families everywhere are excited to get outside to enjoy their time together. Summer months are typically more carefree, but parents and caregivers should not let their guard down as children are more likely to be injured during this time.
From putting on sunscreen (almost an impossible task with a three-year-old!) to ensuring our son is closely monitored while enjoying water play, keeping my little one safe is something that is always at the forefront of my mind.
Thankfully, there are ways that you can help your children stay safe, healthy, and happy. Here are some of the most common injuries sustained by young people during the summertime and ways that you can help prevent them.
If your child sustains a forceful blow to the head, they may sustain a serious head or brain injury, such as a concussion. Concussions are considered mild traumatic brain injuries and interfere with the normal functioning of the brain. The most common causes of child head injuries during the summer months involve bicycle accidents, car accidents, trampoline accidents, playground accidents, and falls.
There are a few ways that parents can help prevent types of accidents. First off, always ensure that children are wearing helmets while riding bicycles, skateboards, or scooters. Only choose playgrounds that have soft material under them, such as sand, wood chips, or mulch. Additionally, ensure that your home is accident-proof by putting up baby gates by staircases and supervising children while they are playing on hard surfaces.
My son loves riding his tricycle and we have taught him from the very beginning that wearing a helmet is a must. It’s also important to ensure the helmet is the correct size and fits properly, so that your child has maximum protection.
The summertime is known as barbecue season, and while grilling is not inherently a dangerous activity, anything that involves fuel, and any open flame has its risks. While adults may know not to get too close to a lit grill, young children may not have this understanding. Keep children away from the grill area by designating the three feet around it as the “kid-free zone.” We typically put out fun games and sidewalk chalk safely distanced from the grill to keep our son and other children occupied. It’s fun for the kids and gives us peace of mind that they are not running around a hot grill!
Fireworks are another common cause of summertime burns, especially for children. Statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission (CPSC) found that children younger than 15 years old account for about 36% of fire-worked injuries that need medical attention. Many of these injuries involve sparklers, which burn at around 2,000 degrees—hot enough to melt some metals. Never let children light fireworks, and consider safer alternatives to sparklers, such as confetti poppers or glow sticks.
With water being such a big part of Hampton Roads, it is no surprise that some of the favorite ways for families to beat the summer heat includes a trip to the beach, local pool, Ocean Breeze Waterpark or Water Country. Sadly, water-related injuries can be serious and even fatal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites drowning as a leading cause of death for children aged 0-4. Additionally, for every child that dies of drowning, another five are treated in ERs for nonfatal water injuries.
Swim lessons are a must, and it is never too early to learn how to swim (or too late for that matter). With water being such a big part of our lives, it was important for my wife and I to start our son in swim lessons at an early age. Having a child that can swim definitely provides some peace of mind but is no substitute for being an active and involved parent around the water.
It is crucial that children of all ages are supervised while swimming by a sober, vigilant adult. Never rely on floatation devices to prevent drowning, and always keep young children within arm’s reach. All swimming pools should have a four-sided perimeter with a child-proof lock. Additionally, in the event of an emergency, it’s important that at least one person present knows cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
“Oh, he won’t bite! Go ahead and pet him!” Famous last words before most dog bites. Never trust unfamiliar dogs around young children. We teach my son not to approach unfamiliar dogs because you never know how they will react.
Dog bites typically spike during the summer months for several reasons. The warmer weather brings more dog walkers outside and more social gatherings mean that dogs are in close proximity to strangers within their own homes. According to the Humane Society, children represent 51% of dog bite victims, with the rate of dog bites being the highest among children between the ages of 5 and 9.
If not properly cleaned and treated, dog bite injuries can lead to serious infections and scarring. Ensure that your child does not approach any unfamiliar dogs, as you don’t know how the dog will react or whether it will become aggressive or vicious. Even for dogs that your children are familiar with, ensure that they approach the animal with caution.
Was Your Child Injured?
At Huffman & Huffman, your family matters and these safety tips are meant to help you protect your children and grandchildren. There is nothing worse than watching your child suffer from a painful, traumatic injury, especially when that injury occurred due to another person’s negligent actions. If you believe that this is the case for your child, turn to Huffman & Huffman for help pursuing the compensation that your family deserves.
Our Newport News personal injury attorneys have been assisting those injured across Virginia since 1973. We are family-owned and you have our word that we will do everything in our power to help your family.
Contact our team at (757) 330-3425 to schedule your free consultation at your earliest convenience. We answer our phones 24 hours a day, seven days a week. While our main office is located in Newport News, we do have an office in Virginia Beach and serve all Hampton Roads clients.