With summer fast approaching and school almost over, many kids will soon head to summer camp while other families will seek outside activities to celebrate. Summer can be an exciting time for all; however, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, it can also be one of the most dangerous. The CPSC reports that summer is a time when injuries and visits to the emergency room are at an all-time high. With this in mind, the CPSC offers some valuable tips for keeping your family and loved ones safe this summer:
1. Wear a helmet and other safety gear when biking, skating, skateboarding, or riding scooters or all-terrain vehicles, including horses. Studies on bicycle helmets have shown they can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent.
2. Use protective measures to prevent swimming pool accidents. This includes using barriers to prevent access to the pool, using door and pool alarms, closely supervising children, and being prepared in case of an emergency.
3. Do not place fire pits in close proximity to your home. Burning embers can travel more than a mile and a half propelled by winds.
4. Keep charcoal grills outside. Burning charcoal produces deadly carbon monoxide.
5. Check gas grills before use. Check air tubes leading into the burner for any blockage from insects, spiders, or food grease and grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes, and leaks. Do not use the grill if you suspect a leak or damage to the hose or grill.
6. Make sure your home playground is safe. Falls result in 60 percent of playground injuries. Concrete, asphalt, or packed dirt surfaces are too hard. Use at least 9 inches of wood chips or mulch.
7. Use protective gear when playing baseball. Consider using softer baseballs, in addition to face gear and helmets to prevent injury.
8. If summer plans include camping and you want heat inside your tent or camper, use one of the new portable heaters equipped with an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS). If oxygen levels start to fall inside your tent or camper, the ODS automatically shuts down the heater before it can produce deadly levels of carbon monoxide. Do not attempt to use alternative sources of heat or power to warm a tent or camper. Traditional camping heaters, charcoal grills, camping lanterns, and gas generators can cause carbon-monoxide poisoning.
9. Install window guards to prevent children from falling out of open windows. Guards should be installed in children's bedrooms, parents' bedrooms, and other rooms where young children spend time. Install window stops that permit windows to open no more than 4 inches. Whenever possible, open windows from the top, not the bottom. Also, keep furniture away from windows to discourage children from climbing near them.
10. When mowing, keep small children out of the yard, and turn the mower off if children enter the area. If the lawn slopes, mow across the slope with the walk-behind rotary mower, never up and down. With a riding mower, drive up and down the slope, not across it. Never carry children on a riding mower.
Being mindful of these helpful tips can prevent injury and might even save a life. Remember, summer should be a time for celebration, not mourning.
For these and other helpful safety tips, visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website and St. Louis Children’s Hospital wellness and summer safety page.