Top 10 Summer Dangers to Kids

CFA (Consumer Federation of America) and released this list because many of the injuries could be prevented if caregivers and parents follow a few basic safety tips. "While children and their parents look forward to summer fun, tragically it is also the time of year when most unintentional injury related deaths occur," said Project Manager Susan Winn.

The key tips are as follows:

  1. Poisoning. On average, poison centers handle one poison exposure every 14 seconds. Poisons may be solids (such as plants, batteries or berries), liquids (such as household cleaners, lamp oil or gasoline), sprays (such as oven cleaners, furniture polish or insect sprays) or gases (such as carbon monoxide). Post the National Poison Hotline by your phone: 1-800-222-1222. For the poison control center in your area, please see the Poison Control Center.

  2. Head Injury. Wear a helmet and protective gear when biking; skating; skateboarding; or riding scooters, horses or ATVs. Every 21 seconds one person in the USA suffers traumatic brain injury according to the Brain Injury Association of America. Wearing a helmet can help prevent brain injury.

  3. Drowning. Children are drawn to water and need constant supervision when around places with even a small amount of water. Remember, children can drown in as little as an inch of water in a five-gallon bucket as well as in a swimming pool.

  4. Vehicle. Buckle up! Never leave a child unattended in a car. At least 34 children died when left in hot cars in 2001. Even when the outside temperature does not feel hot, the temperature inside a car can reach over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes. Back a car carefully. In the first six months of 2002, Kids 'N Cars has a record of 26 children who died and 14 children were injured when a vehicle had backed over them.

  5. Playground Injuries. Falls cause 80 percent of all injuries, so a safe surface is critical. Limit the height of playground equipment and install and maintain a resilient surfacing in accordance with current safety guidelines.

  6. Sun Damage. Sunscreen is not just for the beach! It is important for parents to apply sunscreen to their children regularly when they engage in any outdoor activities - even on overcast days. Because children are outside a lot, they get an average of three times more sun exposure than adults. Overexposure to the sun as a child can lead to skin cancer later in life. Children who are taking certain types of drugs are at greater risk of sunburn, since the sun combined with the drugs can bring on photosensitive or phototoxic effects. For more information, visit the Sun Protection and Sunscreens Center.

  7. Insect Bites. West Nile Virus, Lyme disease or allergic reactions are just a few of the complications that can occur from insect bites. Dress your child appropriately in long sleeves and pants and light colors and use insect repellent that contains DEET placed on their clothing. For more information, see the Health e-Tool "How to Choose and Use Insect Repellents Safely."

  8. Injuries While Home Alone. At some point, working parents find themselves considering the possibility of having kids take care of themselves. Statistics show that children alone are three times more likely than those under adult care to be involved in incidents where they are injured or harmed in some other way. Make sure your child knows what to do if he is injured, if something scares him or if there is an emergency situation.

  9. Lightning and Thunderstorms. Every year about 100 people are killed by lightning. Children should be taught to seek safe shelter before a storm begins. If no shelter is available they should get to an open space and squat low to the ground as quickly as possible. Kneel or crouch with hands on knees.

  10. Boating and Personal Water Craft Injuries. Life preservers or life jackets (also known as Personal Flotation Devices - PFDs) are required to be worn on boats by many states and must be present on all bodies of water supervised by the U.S. Coast Guard. Look for life jackets and life preservers approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. Children riding jet skis (also known as personal water craft) are at risk of head trauma, spinal injuries and trauma to the chest and abdomen.
The above information has been provided with the kind permission of and the Consumer Federation of America Foundation (CFAF).

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Last Editorial Review: 6/1/2004