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Summer Safety

Summer is a time of going to the playground, swimming, boating, biking, camping and other outdoor activities. Unfortunately, in addition to being a lot of fun for children, these activities can lead to a higher risk of injuries.

To public health and medical professionals, summer is often known as “trauma season” because unintentional deaths and serious injuries among children increase dramatically during these months.

Since learning how to avoid accidents can prevent many of these injuries, our summer safety campaign serves to share tips related to playground, swimming, boating, lawn mower and fire safety. Children’s educational activity books are also available to help families learn how to keep children safe during the summer.

Every year, emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Tips to Stay Safe and Fill Your Summer with Fun

Playground Basics

The Centers for Disease Control reported that every year emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries.*

Before your kids head outside to play, be sure to keep these precautions in mind:

  • Choose parks and playgrounds that are appropriate for the child’s age.
  • Teach children that pushing and shoving on the playground can result in accidents and injuries.
  • Make sure your child always wears shoes to protect feet from cuts, scrapes, splinters and pavement burns, and wears sunscreen to protect from sunburns and harmful ultraviolet rays.
  • Parents should supervise children on play equipment at all times.
  • The playground should have safety-tested mats or loose-fill materials (shredded rubber, sand, wood chips or bark) maintained to a depth of at least 9 inches (6 inches for shredded rubber). The protective surface should be installed at least 6 feet (more for swings and slides) in all directions from the equipment.
  • Equipment should be carefully maintained. Open "S" hooks or protruding bolt ends can be hazardous.
  • Swing seats should be made of soft materials such as rubber, plastic or canvas.
  • Remind children to swing sitting down. Encourage them to wait until the swing stops before getting off and to be careful when walking in front of moving swings.
  • Remind kids to go down the slide one at a time and to wait until the slide is completely clear before taking their turn. Teach them to always sit facing forward with their legs straight in front of them. Insist they NEVER slide down headfirst!
  • Make sure children cannot reach any moving parts that might pinch or trap any body part.
  • Metal, rubber and plastic products can get very hot in the summer, especially under direct sun.
    • Make sure slides are cool to prevent children's legs from getting burned.
    • Reminder: Do not allow children to play barefoot on the playground.

* Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and healthychildren.org

Trampoline Awareness

  • It is recommended that parents never purchase a home trampoline or allow children to use a home trampoline because of the risk of serious injury even when supervised.
  • Surrounding trampoline netting offers a false sense of security and does not prevent many trampoline-related injuries. Most injuries happen on the trampoline, not from falling off.
  • If children are jumping on a trampoline, they should be supervised by a responsible adult, and only one child should be on the trampoline at a time; 75% of trampoline injuries occur when more than one person is jumping at a time.*
  • Homeowners should verify that their insurance policies cover trampoline-related claims. Coverage is highly variable and a rider may need to be obtained.

* Source: healthychildren.org

Lawn Mower Safety

While a lawn mower may seem like just a common household tool, thousands of children are injured in lawn mower accidents each year, some severely. Lawn mower injuries account for a large percentage of accidental amputations, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The speed of the blade can send dirt and bacteria deep into a wound, creating a high risk for severe infection.

Most lawn mower-related injuries can be prevented by following some simple safety guidelines.

Please keep these tips in mind:

  • Keep children out of the yard while mowing. Children should not be allowed to walk or play near a lawn mower in use.
  • Teach children to stay away from all lawn mowers, even those that are not currently in use.
  • Never allow a child, or any other passenger, to ride on a mower, even with parents or other adults. Doctors commonly see children with severe injuries to their feet caused by riding on the back of a rider mower with a parent or grandparent.
  • Only use a mower with a control that stops the mower blade from moving if the handle is let go.
  • Children younger than 16 years should not be allowed to use ride-on mowers.
  • Children younger than 12 years should not use walk-behind mowers.
  • Always wear sturdy, closed-toed shoes while mowing the lawn – do not wear sandals.
  • Prevent injuries from flying objects, such as stones or toys, by picking up objects from the lawn before mowing begins.
  • Have anyone who uses a mower wear hearing and eye protection.
  • Do not pull the mower backward or mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary, and carefully look for children behind you when you mow in reverse.
  • Riding mowers should have the reverse switch behind the driver, forcing the driver to look behind when placing the machine in reverse.
  • Always turn off the mower and wait for the blades to stop completely before removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, or crossing gravel paths, roads or other areas.
  • Drive up and down slopes, not across, to prevent mower rollover.
  • Keep guards, shields, switches and safety devices in proper working order at all times.
  • If children must be in the vicinity of running lawn mowers, they should wear polycarbonate protective eye wear at all times.

Sources: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and healthychildren.org

Lawn Mower Safety Tips with Fezzy

Fezzy shares safety tips to help avoid injuries involving lawn mowers.
View Transcript

Fezzy: Why, hello there. Welcome to Safety Tips with Fezzy. Today's episode is one of incredible social importance, we will be talking about ...

Speaker 2: Daddy?

Fezzy: What?

Speaker 2: Mommy says you need to mow the lawn.

Fezzy: The lawn? But I just did that yesterday. How bad could it possibly be?

Speaker 2: It's spring.

Fezzy: Ah, not so fast. I think this is a great opportunity for you to learn some lawnmower safety.

Fezzy: Okay, I'll go get the lawnmower, but before I can mow, we need to make sure the yard is clear. Your job is to pick up any toys and loose items. Here, use us to update me on your progress.

Speaker 2: Mission engaged.

Speaker 2: Mission going as planned.

Fezzy: Oh, good.

Speaker 2: You forgot to say ...

Fezzy: Oh, right. I made it to the shed, so be sure to stay away while I take out the lawnmower.

Speaker 2: Because that would compromise the mission?

Fezzy: Exactly. It's not safe for children to be around lawnmowers.

Speaker 2: Roger that, big daddy. Over and out.

Giraffe: Why, hello there, neighbor.

Fezzy: Hey.

Giraffe: Still using that old clunker, are you? Hey, check out my new ride. It's so nice. Hey, where's Fern? Is she going to help you mow or what?

Fezzy: She's cleaning the other side of the lawn. She has to be 12 years old before she can operate the push mower.

Giraffe: Oh, that's okay. My young man over here wants to drive to lawnmower, don't you, sport? But you have to be 16 before it's safe to operate one these bad boys. Okay, so why don't you just go back inside there. Try out for basketball next summer.

Speaker 2: Mission is in progress.

Speaker 2: Big daddy, this is [inaudible 00:02:36]. The remaining hostages have been found.

Fezzy: Thank goodness. Would you mind picking up any large sticks or rocks on your way back? They need to be picked up as well.

Speaker 2: A honey bucket.

Fezzy: Now that's what I call a job well done.

Fezzy: Well, at least we can win until tomorrow. It's not safe to mow grass that's wet.

Sunshine: Hey, let me get that for you.

Fezzy: Thanks.

Fezzy: Hey kids, we sure learned a lot today, didn't we? Mowing the lawn is an important chore, but keep in mind, lawnmowers can be dangerous. For younger kids, the most important rule is to stay away from lawnmowers. You have to be 12 years old to operate a push mower, and 16 to operate a riding mower. If you want to help out but you aren't quite old enough to be around the mower, ask your parents if you can help clean up the yard beforehand, toys, sticks, rocks, and other items could be a potential hazard, so picking them up makes everyone safer. You can even turn it into a game like my daughter Fern did earlier.

Speaker 2: Yeah, you can also help by reminding your parents to stay safe. Help them remember to wear a long sleeve shirt, long pants, gloves, closed toed shoes, and cool safety goggles like my dad's.

Fezzy: Just make sure to go inside before the mowing actually begins and stay there as long as it's running. And remember, call 911 in case of an emergency.

Speaker 2: Once the mowing is all done, you can have fun and play in your nice clean yard.

Fezzy: That's all for now. Be smart and stay safe.

Speaker 2: Be smart and stay safe.

Additional Guidelines for a Safe Summer

Swimming and Water Play

While playing poolside may be a blast, Safe Kids Worldwide Organization reports that drowning is the leading injury-related cause of death for children ages 1-4, and it is the third leading cause of injury-related death among children 19 and under.*

Additionally, diving is the fifth leading cause of spinal cord injury for men and women, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, with 29% of injuries affecting children up to age 18.**

Supervision and common sense can go a long way to prevent accidents and injuries. Always practice these tips to ensure your family’s safety around water:

  • Watch kids when they are in or around water, without being distracted. Young children can drown in as little as one inch of water, so it’s important to keep them within an arm’s reach of an adult.
  • Empty tubs, buckets, containers and kids’ pools immediately after use. Store them upside down and out of children’s reach.
  • Close lids and doors. Keep toilet lids and doors to bathrooms and laundry rooms closed when not in use.
  • Install fences around home pools. A pool fence should surround all sides of the pool and be at least four feet tall with self-closing and self-latching gates.
  • Learn CPR and basic water rescue skills. It is important to know how to respond in an emergency without putting yourself at risk.
  • The best way to enter the water is ALWAYS feet first.
  • Never dive into the shallow end of a pool.

* Sources: Safe Kids Worldwide and Shepherd Center

** Shepherd Center

Boating and Other Water Safety

Boating, tubing and other water sports can be great fun, but can also be dangerous. Where cause of death was known, 80% of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of those drowning victims with reported life jacket usage, 83% were not wearing a life jacket.*

Here is what you can do to enjoy time on the water safely:

  • Children should wear life jackets at all times when on boats, docks or near bodies of water.
  • Make sure the life jacket is the right size for your child. The jacket should not be loose and should always be worn as instructed with all straps belted.
  • Blow-up water wings, toys, rafts and air mattresses should not be used as life jackets or personal flotation devices. Adults should wear life jackets for their own protection and to set a good example.
  • Adolescents and adults need to be aware of the dangers of boating, even as a passenger, when under the influence of alcohol, drugs and some prescription medications.
  • Children follow your example! Whenever you are on a boat – everyone should wear a life jacket.

*Recreational Boating Statistics, U.S. Coast Guard (2016)

Source: healthychildren.org

Grilling, Fire and Fireworks Safety

Fire/burn-related injuries are among the leading 10 causes of unintentional injury in children ages 0 to 5, with children 2 and younger at greatest risk. Every day, 300 children ages 0 to 19 are treated in emergency departments for burn-related injuries.* During the summer, children are more likely to be exposed to some specific burn hazards.

Use these tips to keep children safe around fires, fireworks, grills and other heat sources:

Grilling and fire safety tips:

  • Teach kids to never play with matches, gasoline, lighter fluid or lighters. Make a habit of placing these items up and away from young children.
  • Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings, out from under eaves and overhanging branches and a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area by declaring a 3-foot "kid-free zone" around the grill.
  • Keep all matches and lighters away from children. Teach your children to report any loose matches or lighters to an adult immediately.
  • Do not leave children unattended near grills, campfires, fire pits or bonfires. Always have a bucket of water or fire extinguisher nearby whenever there is a burning fire.

Fireworks safety:

  • Fireworks can result in severe burns, blindness, scars and even death.
  • Fireworks that are often thought to be safe, such as sparklers, can reach temperatures above 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, and can burn users and bystanders.
  • Families should attend community fireworks displays run by professionals rather than using fireworks at home.
  • The AAP recommends prohibiting public sale of all fireworks, including those by mail or the Internet.

Call 911 when appropriate or take your child to a doctor or hospital immediately if he or she is injured in a fire or by fireworks. 

Sources: *Safe Kids Worldwide and healthychildren.org

 

Key Safety Tips

Summer is a time for kids to have fun outdoors, but these activities can lead to a higher risk of injuries.

children on playground

Choose age-appropriate parks/playgrounds and supervise children at all times.

girl on trampoline

Only one child on trampoline at a time and only when supervised by a responsible adult.

boy mowing the lawn

Keep younger children away from lawn mowers and follow age recommendations for mower use.

three children swimming underwater

Always watch children closely when in or near any water.

family wearing life jackets in canoe

Wear life jackets that are tight, fully buckled and the right size.

family in park grilling

Keep children away from matches, lighters, grills, fires and home fireworks.

Activity Booklet

Have fun while learning about summer safety. Order our complimentary activity booklet and learn how to stay safe in summer.