Sun and summer have finally arrived. However, with the good weather risks of injuries to children rise, and some of these can be life threatening.
Falls from windows, sunstroke and heatstroke, drownings and near drownings, burns are all tragic with serious outcomes for children, but many of these injuries are preventable.
BC Ambulance Service and BC Children’s Hospital have some summer safety tips for parents and caregivers.
To let in a cool summer breeze, windows are often left open. Children are natural climbers and may not understand the risk of falling. A window screen will not stop a child from falling from a window.
•Move furniture away from windows and balcony rails.
•Install window guards on windows above the ground level. These act like a gate in front of the window.
•Or, fasten the windows so that they cannot open more than 10 centimetres (four inches). Children can fit through spaces as small as 12 centimetres (five inches) wide. Ensure there is a safe release option in case of a house fire.
Water and pools
Children are drawn to water, but they do not understand the danger and can drown quickly, and silently, in less than a few centimetres. More than half of these children are under age five. Drowning is the leading cause of death for children from birth to four years old.
•Never leave a child unattended near water.
•Be within arms’ reach of your child at all times when in, on, or around the water.
•Ensure young children, weak swimmers and children who cannot swim wear a life jacket or personal floatation device (PFD) when near water, including backyard pools, hot tubs and paddling pools. Empty paddling pools after each use.
•Surround backyard pools and hot tubs with a one-metre (four-foot) high, four-sided fence with a self-closing, self-latching childproof gate.
•Remove toys from the water or near the pool’s edge (these can often tempt children to the water’s edge).
•Enrol children in swimming lessons.
•Get trained in first aid and CPR and make sure to have emergency equipment, including a first aid kit and a telephone, in the immediate pool area.
Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition in which the body’s temperature rises far above normal. Every year, young children suffer injuries from being left in parked cars that get too hot. The temperature inside a parked car can easily exceed 50 degrees within 10 to 20 minutes on a typical hot summer day. In addition, buckles and straps of car seats can burn a child’s delicate skin.
•Never leave a child alone in a vehicle, not even with the windows down or to run a quick errand. It only takes seconds for an incident to happen.
•If you cannot avoid parking your car in direct sunlight, cover the car seat with a towel or blanket. Car seat covers are available specifically for this purpose as well.
•Children can set a vehicle in motion. Always lock your car. Keys should never be left within reach or sight of children.
•If you see a child unattended in a car, be proactive and call 911.