We are excited to partner with University Health System to share this sponsored post on injury prevention. University Hospital is the premier Level 1 Trauma Center for South and Central Texas, and the only Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center and burn program in the region. This post was provided by Mandy Fultz, Safe Kids Project Coordinator, Adult & Pediatric Injury Prevention.
It’s a wonder I survived childhood: riding bikes without a helmet, twirling around with sparklers on July 4th, and making long road trips unbelted in the back of a station wagon. Surviving, though, doesn’t change the fact that injuries are the number one killer of our kids. If we want to give our kids the best chances to grow up safe and successful, we need to do things differently. Here are five hot topics to help you and your kids have a happy and safe summer.
We may wonder how anyone could forget their child in a hot car, but sadly, it happens all too often—especially to young children who may have fallen asleep. There have already been three confirmed heatstroke deaths in Texas this year and nine total for the United States. A simple change in routine, sleep deprivation, the distraction of all the things you have to accomplish before that 8:00 A.M. meeting…you run into work without a thought about whether you took the baby to daycare. We can all help reduce the number of heatstroke deaths by remembering the following from Safe Kids Worldwide on how to ACT.
- A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. Make sure to lock your car so kids don’t get in on their own.
- C: Create reminders. Put something in the back of your car next to your child like a briefcase, purse, or phone. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.
- T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.
I grew up writing my name in the summer sky with a sparkler every July 4th. Fireworks can be a lot of fun but should definitely be left to the professionals. We know cakes bake at 350°F, so we place or remove things from the oven with oven mitts or hot pads. Why? Because 350°F can cause second- or third-degree burns. Did you know sparklers get up to 1200°F? So how do we have a safe yet fun holiday?
- Find a professional firework show near you.
- Replace sparklers with glow sticks. They last longer and won’t burn your kiddo, and he/she can still write his/her name in the sky.
Summertime—and, well, just living in Texas—is grilling season. Keeping kids safe in and around our backyard BBQs can be challenging, especially with toddlers who want to be right underneath us and touch everything they see, including the grill. How do we enjoy our summer BBQs without a burn?
- Keep children away from the grill area by declaring a three-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.
- Always supervise children around outdoor grills.
- If a burn occurs, cool it with cool water and cover with a clean dry cloth.
My kids sprout fins and gills the moment school lets out. In South Texas, keeping cool can be hard to do without a dip in the water (or sitting inside all summer long). Keeping kids safe in and around water doesn’t have to be stressful or hard. Follow these tips, and your little one will be splashing all summer long.
- Learn to swim! It is never too late, and little ones can start swim courses as early as six months old.
- Use U.S. Coast Guard-approved life vests.
- Keep young children within arm’s reach of an adult.
- Never swim alone.
- Assign an adult water watcher to constantly watch kids.
- Learn the signs of drowning.
- Learn CPR.
- Ensure multiple barriers around water.
- If you can’t find your child, check the water first.
“Are we there yet?” “How much longer?” “I’m hungry!” “I have to potty!!” These are the glorious sounds from the backseat on your summer adventures when you’re only 10 minutes into the road trip! We all want to have fun (and keep our sanity), but how can we keep our kids comfy, safe, and content on the road? Seat belts are designed to keep us in the car and spread the crash force across the appropriate parts of our bodies. What else can we do to protect our kids on road trips?
- Always keep kids in the appropriate child passenger safety seat. To check the right size for your child, go to safekids.org/carseat.
- Encourage kids to maintain proper positioning for long trips by using pillows on the side, never buckled in with them.
- Store loose items under seats or in trunks. Not stored properly, they can become a projectile in a crash.
- Plan for plenty of stops to stretch legs and take potty breaks. When we plan for extra time on the road, everyone enjoys the “getting there and back home” much more.
Wishing everyone a safe and happy summer with lots of cherished memories! For more information on all topics safety, please go to www.safekids.org.