Easy Tips for a Healthy, Injury-Free Summer

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.

Favorite summer 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.

Late-night fever? Weekend earache? Pediatric urgent care is open!


Supervision is key to keeping children healthy, injury-free, and safe.

Here are 8 easy tips to put into practice.

  1. 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. Here are six must-know water safety tips.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.  Check out this resource from the National Safety Council on window safety. 
  5. 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. The National Safety Council shares a great resource for window safety. 
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Leave lawnmowers to the adults: Lawn mowers pose a risk to children, and according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should be at least 12 years old to operate one. Don't let kids on or near mowers when in use, even under adult supervision. That means no riding as a passenger. Kids can easily get hit with rocks and other debris, and can also get injured from the blades of a mower should they end up being hit or run over. 

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