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Summer safety roundup

by Dr. Kendra Reith

Summer is here, and families are hitting the road for vacations and enjoying time outdoors. Taking a moment to review a few best practices and tips can help you keep your youngest family members safe this summer.

Heading out on a road trip? Take a close look at your child’s car seat. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, road injuries are the leading cause of preventable deaths and injuries to U.S. children, and when correctly used, child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71%. Make sure you do the following to protect your little ones!

  • Make sure you have the right car seat for your child’s age and size, and make sure the car seat fits your child. Find resources that can help. Need expert help to check your car seat? Call your local Public Health Department, Sheriff’s Office, or Police Department to see if they have someone who can help you.
  • Keep babies and children under age two in a rear-facing car seat. Children’s heads, necks, and spines need time to grow and strengthen, and a rear-facing car seat is much safer because it can absorb crash forces instead of transferring the force to your child’s body. When a young child is in a front-facing seat, they are much more likely to be injured in a crash.
  • Never leave your child alone in the car, even for a minute, because it doesn’t take long for babies or young children to suffer from heatstroke or even die in a vehicle. Create reminders to ensure you don’t make a tragic mistake.

Going to the lake or the pool? Take steps to prevent drowning. Drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide. Young children, teens, and young adults are all at risk.

  • Never leave a child alone near water, including private pools and spas. If you have to leave the area, take your child with you. Keep small children within arm’s reach.
  • Wear a life jacket in natural waters, including children at the beach and all passengers on a boat, and stick to approved swimming areas.
  • Avoid alcohol when swimming or operating a boat.
  • Enroll the family in swim lessons, but keep in mind that swimming lessons are not a guarantee that your child won’t drown.
  • Get training in CPR.
  • Learn more from the National Safety Council or from Safe Kids Kansas.

Going camping or planning a backyard BBQ or July 4 event? Don’t let accidents, bites, or burns ruin your fun!

  • Supervise children around campfires and teach kids to stop, drop, and roll if their clothing catches fire. Keep water nearby, and never leave a campfire unattended.
  • Keep children and pets away from charcoal or gas grills, and use them only outdoors and away from the home, deck railings, and out from under eaves or overhanging branches. Never leave your grill unattended, and keep your grill clean by removing grease buildup.
  • Buy only legal fireworks, and don’t allow kids to play with fireworks. Remember that sparklers can reach temperatures hot enough to melt gold! Keep a bucket of water and a hose close by in case of accidents. Find more tips.
  • To protect against bug bites, dress babies and children in clothing that covers arms and legs. Follow label instructions for insect repellent, and do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-dio (PMD) on children under 3 years old. Find more information about safe insect repellents.
  • Review how to remove a tick in case someone in the family finds a tick attached. Visit a healthcare provider if you or a family member find a red-ringed rash or red, irritated skin, suffer from flu-like symptoms, have join pain or a swollen joint, or suffer from facial paralysis. 

The most important thing to remember is that your young children (and your older children and even young adults!) rely on you to set a good example and help keep them safe. If you need more information, take a look at the Safe Kids Worldwide Parent’s Guide to Child Safety or talk to your healthcare provider.

Have a great summer!


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