Summer Safety for Kids
This summer, children will be rushed to the Emergency Department nearly 3 million
times for serious injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes, drownings,
bike crashes, pedestrian incidents, falls, and other hazards. The fun and relaxation
of summer can be deceptive when it comes to safety. Kids are exposed to more
dangers because they tend to be more active. The good news is the majority of
these can be avoided by taking a few simple steps.
The warm weather usually sends children to the nearest swimming pool. Taking the time to teach children how to be safe when swimming can help avoid a drowning, which nationally is the second leading cause of unintentional injury related death among children ages 1 to 14.
Childhood drownings and near drownings occur silently and within a matter of seconds, typically when a child is left unattended or unsupervised near a pool or an open body of water. Following these steps can help keep your children’s time around water fun and safe.
Teaching Kids Safe Pool Use:
- Always supervise swimming children or children near water—never leave
them alone—even for a moment!
- Teach children to never swim alone—even when they are older.
- Learn CPR for adults and children.
- Make sure children take swimming lessons when they are ready—usually
after age 4.
- Don’t let kids dive into water that is less than nine feet deep.
- Realize that children can get into trouble in the water even if they know
how to swim or are wearing a life jacket.
- Empty & turn over wading pools as soon as they are empty.
If You Own Your Own Pool:
- Have a fence that separates the pool from the house and yard.
- Keep a phone and emergency numbers near the pool
- Use a gate or pool alarm.
- Keep rescue equipment near the pool.
For Oceans, Lakes and Rivers:
- Make sure kids swim only in areas marked for swimming.
- Never allow them to dive into ocean, lakes or rivers because you do not
know how deep the water is.
- Make sure everyone wears a coast guard approved Personal Flotation Device
(PFD or Life Jacket) near or in the water on boats.
- Water wings and inner tubes are not substitutes for life jackets.
- Don’t allow children to drive jet skis.
Children also tend to spend a fair amount of time on their bikes, scooters,
and skateboards during the summer. Bicycles are associated with more childhood
injuries than any other consumer product except the automobile. Head injuries
are the leading cause of death and permanent disability related to bicycle crashes.
Bicycle helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of head injury by at least
85%. Unfortunately, only about 15-25% of children on bikes wear helmets.
Children’s actions when on bikes and other wheeled devices can also put
them at risk. Help protect your child on bikes and other wheeled devices by:
Teaching Kids the Rules of the Road:
- Bikes, scooters, skateboards and inline skates are vehicles—not toys.
- When on the road, ride with the traffic and as far to the right as possible.
- Learn and use appropriate hand signals.
- Respect traffic signals.
- Stop and look left, right , and left again before crossing an intersection.
- Don’t ride when it’s dark.
- Don’t negotiate! If you don’t wear a helmet—you don’t
- Helmets must always be worn with bikes or any wheeled device.
Teaching Kids to Use Proper Gear:
- Bikes – Use a helmet.
- Scooters – Use helmet, knee pads and elbow pads.
- Skateboards – Use helmet, knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards.
- Inline skates – Use helmet, knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards.
For more information on water safety, bike safety, or any other unintentional
injury risk area, please contact Safe Kids Baltimore at the University of Maryland
Hospital for Children at 410-328-7532. Karen Hardingham, Coalition
Coordinator, can also be reached via email at email@example.com.
This page was last updated on:
April 19, 2007.
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