Perspective Newsletter
Spring 2015
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​​Beware the five top summertime risks for kids

mother comforts crying child

The very things that make summer fun also can make it the most dangerous time of year for kids. Contrary to what most parents fear, a child's greatest risk comes not from disease or "stranger danger" (think of all those warnings you've heard over the years) but from accidents – the kind that occur most often in summer.

The journal Pediatrics and named these among the summer's top risks for kids:

Drowning. Every five days, a child in the United States dies in a portable pool, including shallow wading pools. That's on top of drownings in unfenced, unsupervised in-ground pools and area lakes and ponds. Most involve kids under age 5, accounting for 30% of all deaths in that age group. The takeaway for parents: Never leave children unsupervised around water, fence off in-ground pools, insist on lifejackets in lakes and rivers, and consider swimming lessons even for very young children.

Lawnmower injuries. Among kids under 5, lawnmowers account for 46% of all traumatic injuries. Keep your young ones out of the yard while the mower is running, and never allow them to ride on lawnmowers as passengers. Make a "no touch" rule to avoid burns from the machine's scorching muffler and engine.

Poisoning. Ornamental berries, citronella oil in Tiki torches, and garden chemicals present poison risks unique to summer. A related danger? Extreme reactions to insect bites. If someone in your family has a severe allergy, keep an EpiPen® on hand and know how to use it to treat anaphylaxis. Also, put the number for the National Poison Hotline in your phone's contacts: 800-222-1222.

Burns. Independence Day is the busiest day of the year for emergency rooms and firefighters. Safety experts recommend you opt for professional fireworks rather than backyard displays (those innocent-looking sparklers literally get hot enough to cook an egg). If a child suffers a burn, immerse it in water or apply a cool compress (forget the old home remedy of smearing butter on a burn) and if in doubt, get medical help. Ready to fire up that grill? Enforce a no-kid, no-pets zone until the coals cool.

Falls. Bike accidents account for 26,000 traumatic brain injuries a year for kids and teens. The number soars even higher when you add skateboard, ATV, and horseback riding falls. Wearing a helmet significantly cuts the risk of brain injury – and it's a good habit mom and dad can model for their kids.