National Safe Kids Week

Summer is the most dangerous time of year for kids, according to a study released by the National SAFE KIDS Campaign. The study "...found that May through August account for nearly half of all injury related childhood deaths, with July being the most deadly month."

According to the study "Unintentional injury remains the leading killer of children 14 and under. Children will be rushed to emergency departments nearly 3 million times for serious injury. During the summer months, when children are out of school, they lack adequate supervision and spend more time outdoors, the risks to children are heightened."

Below are some of the alarming statistics of the report:

  • Nearly half (42 percent) of all unintentional injury-related deaths occur during the summer months, a 25 percent increase above average;
  • 12 percent of all deaths occur in July;
  • 45 percent of deaths among children 10-14 years old occur during the summer;
  • 47 percent of all deaths in the mountain states occur during the summer months
  • Drowning is the greatest risk for children ages 14 and under, increasing 96 percent above average during the summer.
  • The majority of unintentional deaths (two-thirds) from 1991 to 1996 were the result of bike, pedestrian, motor vehicle occupant injury, falls and drowning.

The National SAFE KIDS Campaign also conducted a public opinion survey polling both parents and children in regard to their views of kids safety. The results revealed that:

  • 70 percent of the 200 children surveyed between the ages of 7 and 12 said "...that their parents worry too much about them being hurt in an 'accident.' " More than half of the kids identified the wrong season (winter) when kids were most likely to have an "accident." The majority of the kids were also not able to identify the leading cause of loss of life. Most of the kids identified violence (51%) or an illness/disease (22%) as the main reason.
  • The results of a survey of 736 parents with children ages 14 and younger revealed that the two-thirds of the parents (63%) correctly identified "accidents" as the leading cause of death or disability of children. "Smaller numbers mentioned violence (23%) and disease/illness(13%)."
  • Both the survey taken by the adults and kids revealed that a "child should be allowed to participate in four different summertime activities without adult supervision." Those activities were identified as (1) Going for a walk, crossing the street, (2) Ride a bicycle, (3) Play in a playground, (4) Swim
  • Almost a third of the groups surveyed (parents and kids) also felt that it was ok for a child to ride a bicycle without supervision before the age of nine.
  • "Leading experts in child development agree that a child's judgment and observation skills are still inadequate to assess risks until at least age nine."

The conclusion of the study is fairly clear, "Parents and children must learn the who, what, where, and how of unintentional childhood injuries. Parents need to provide adequate supervision and safety devices for their children, and children need to protect themselves during the summer - the most dangerous time of the year."

For more on safe summer fun, please see our MedicineNet.com articles on:

Some of this information has been provided with the kind permission of the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, (www.safekids.org)


Last Editorial Review: 5/7/2001