Summer Safety: Tips to Keep Children Safe From Injuries as Favorite Activities Resume

By: Kevin Borrup, DrPH, JD, MPA

“Trauma season” – that’s how emergency medicine providers and injury prevention experts often refer to the months of May through August. That’s because of the dramatic increase in the number of children injured during the warm spring and summer months.

This summer, as pandemic restrictions are lifted, people are socializing once again – and favorite activities like barbecues, parties and other social activities each present their own unique risks.

Kevin Borrup, DrPH, JD, MPA, the director of Connecticut Children’s Injury Prevention Center, joins the Growing Healthy blog with top tips for parents and caregivers.

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Tips for a Healthy, Injury-Free Summer

This summer, supervision, masks and other precautions will be key for keeping children healthy, injury-free, and safe from COVID-19.

Here are easy tips to keep in mind.

  • Be a water watcher. Backyard and lakeside parties are back, so be sure to designate an adult to watch children closely when they are in a pool, lake or ocean. Share the responsibility by taking turns with other adults.
  • Wear a life jacket. Young or inexperienced swimmers should wear life jackets when in the water. In addition, everyone in a boat should also wear a life jacket, even infants.
  • Never let children play with fireworks. Sparklers and other fireworks can be hot enough to melt metal. Fireworks are the cause of life-threatening injuries and burns in children every year.
  • Use window guards. Window screens are meant to keep insects out, but will not stop a curious child from falling from a window. Attach window guards to your windows to ensure that windows open no more than four inches. Here are more steps for safety around the home.
  • Never leave a child alone in a vehicle. In as little as 10 minutes, the inside of a vehicle can become so hot that it can be deadly. Young children are typically unable to open car doors on their own to let themselves out. When riding in a vehicle with a child, place an important item such as a purse, wallet or shoe in the back seat so you won’t risk forgetting about your child.
  • Slow down when driving. People are driving faster now more than ever. Watch for children on residential streets and around buses, ice cream trucks or other places where children play. If people are on the road or visible nearby, slow down to under 20 mph – the slower the better.
  • Never drink alcohol before driving. For most of us, a motor vehicle crash is the number one way we could be hurt or killed this summer. Connecticut has the unfortunate distinction of having more alcohol-involved fatal crashes than our neighboring states. Never drink alcohol before you get in your car to drive. That’s right – not even one drink. If you want to drink, plan it so that someone else will drive.
  • Get the COVID-19 vaccine. If you and your children are eligible for the vaccine, get it. Being vaccinated will protect you and everyone around you. The vaccine is not 100% effective, and you do not know who is vaccinated and who is not – so when out in public, use your common sense, and keep a mask handy to wear when the situation warrants it.
  • Frequently wash hands: Ensure children and all family members practice proper handwashing, or hand sanitizing, while playing or when returning home from an outing to reduce the potential of getting sick.

Following these safety tips will help you enjoy the summer with your family in a safe and responsible way.

 

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