Summer safety is a hot topic, literally and we asked Safe Kids of Grand Forks Coordinator Carma Hanson to share with us some insight on how to enjoy the summer months and keep those kiddos safe.
As the warm days of summer have come to our part of the country, we find kids out of school, families enjoying this season and all of us adjusting to the new routines that Covid-19 has brought to us this year. Routinely, June, July and August are the 100 deadliest days of the year for kids as they are out of school and in a less structured environment. Add to that this year the stresses that have accompanied our global pandemic where parents may be working from home or carrying the weight of job changes or losses. All of these things lead to a set-up for more unintentional childhood injuries. We offer some insight into ways that you can keep your home a safe environment by not taking a vacation from safety.
Because of community pools being more apt to be closed, above ground pools have popped up around homes. While these can offer a cool retreat from hot summer days, they can also present a danger. Below ground pools are required to have 4-sided fencing around them, but smaller above ground ones are not. If you have young children that may toddle off or are curious by nature, know what is in your neighbor’s backyard and assure that kids don’t get out of your sight. Drowning is a silent behavior and you often won’t hear a child struggling in the water. If you have a pool in your yard, but sure to store toys and floaties out of the pool when not in use so kids are not tempted by them. If it is a smaller pool, dump the water and turn the pool upside down so it does not collect water with rainfalls. Keep the ladder stored out of sight and in a shed or garage, away from the pool. Active adult supervision, meaning the adults are watching the kids and not reading a book, cooking on the grill, talking on the phone, taking a nap or a variety of other activities, is important to keep kids safe in a water situation. Never rely on inflatable water wings or water rings to keep your kids afloat. If you have a below ground pool at your home, assure that there are self-latching gates on the fence and if there are doors from the house that exit directly to the pool, equip them with alarms so you will be alerted if someone exists them.
Another danger for children in the summertime is heatstroke from kids being left in cars that heat up quickly or children gaining access to a vehicle whether that be at your family home or a neighbor’s. It doesn’t take a very hot day for this type of tragedy to occur. Temperatures inside vehicles can get to be 40-60 degrees hotter than outside and children’s bodies overheat three to five times fast than an adult. When the vehicle is not in use, lock the car and keep the keys out of reach. Always remember to check the back seat after every ride and set reminders on your phone as babies often fall asleep in the vehicle when the car starts moving. A simple change in routine such as road construction that takes you on a different route to work can quickly lead to a tragic outcome for a young child. If you see a child in a vehicle that is unattended, call 911 immediately so emergency responders can come and get the child removed and provide medical attention if needed.
While the summertime can create great family time and generate fabulous memories, we want to assure that kids are free of the dangers that this season presents. For more information on preventable childhood injuries, visit www.safekidsgf.com or LIKE us on Facebook at Safe Kids Grand Forks. Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks and you can reach out to us there at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sip your lemonade, relax in the cool waters of a pool and enjoy special times with your family but never, ever take a vacation from summer safety.