Summertime is a time of fun for kids across the Bay Area and the country. But summertime is also a time when accidents among children increase. There are some simple steps that you can take, however, to reduce the risk of personal injuries to your children this summer.
First, lets talk about playgrounds and monkey-bars. We have done posts before on the importance of finding shock-absorbing surfaces for your kids in order to reduce the risk of a MTBI (mild traumatic brain injury). And that is still good advice. But here are a few additional tips.
1). Simply limit the amount of time that your kids spend on the monkey-bars or other climbing equipment. Now, we’re not suggesting that you lock them in their rooms and throw away the key. But simply monitor their activity on any climbing equipment and limit their overall exposure to these areas and you will reduce their opportunities for injury.
2). Make sure you find age-appropriate equipment. Some playground equipment is really meant for older kids, but most playgrounds don’t indicate this. So, supervise children to make sure that they are on play equipment that is suited for kidos their age.
3). It’s worth repeating: find soft and shook-absorbing surfaces at every opportunity.
But kids don’t spend all their time on playgrounds. In fact, many kids don’t spend any time at all there because they spend all their time on bikes.
1). Helmets helmets helmets. We have done posts and videos and just about everything we can to emphasize the importance of wearing a helmet in order to reduce the risk of a head injury. But make sure that your kid’s helmet fits her properly. Here is a guide from NHTSA – the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration – on how to fit and adjust a helmet properly.
2). Make sure that your child’s bike seat is properly adjusted (it should be two to four inches above the top bar). And make sure that the tires are properly inflated and that the brakes are working.
3). Educate your kids on traffic laws. Make sure they follow those laws. And if possible, find areas for them to ride off-road on soft and shock-absorbing surfaces.
Then, there is the pool.
Drowning is a leading cause of death and injury for children one to four years old. But many of these injuries and deaths can be avoided.
Here is what to do:
1). Get swimming lessons. Teaching your kids to swim and to be a strong swimmer can greatly reduce the risk of drowning. So get them to the pool for those lessons.
2). If you own a pool, make sure that you have a four-sided fence around the pool. Make sure that the fence has a gate that locks. And make sure that it is locked when not in use.
3). Learn life-saving skills. And that means YOU not your child. Take a course on CPR, swimming, and basic life-guarding skills.
4). Make sure that kids are supervised by an adult at all times – preferably by an adult with the skills described in 3).
5). Keep life jackets and other safety and water rescue equipment at your house and within easy access at all times.
And enjoy your summer!