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Summertime is an exciting break from school and the hum-drum daily routine. Families spend warm summer days swimming by the pool, playing at the park, and celebrating various events of the season.
Sadly, among the hundreds of fun activities to do over the summer, dangers lurk around every corner. Parents of young children and teens in Maryland should be familiar with the top summer hazards linked to their favorite hobbies and the steps to preventing severe accidents that could turn deadly.
Recreational swimming is an ideal summer pastime for Marylanders when the weather gets hot, but also one of the most dangerous.
This past Memorial Day, an 11-year-old boy from Joppa was pulled unresponsive and not breathing from a private swimming pool. After first responders administered CPR, the Harford County boy was transferred to the hospital in critical condition before succumbing to his injuries a few days later.
This tragic accident is not an isolated incident. According to the Maryland Department of Health (M.D.H.), drowning was the second leading cause of death in our state in 2015 for children ages four and under. Nationwide, an average of 3,500 dies from unintentional drownings every year, about 10 people a day. One in five of these drownings are children under the age of 14. And for every child who dies from a drowning accident, another five receive emergency medical care for near-drowning injuries.
What You Can Do: It doesn’t take long for a child to drown. Even when children are well trained in how to swim, accidents happen. The M.D.H. recommends taking these precautionary steps every time your children plan to swim this summer:
The summer heat can make a car unbearable to be in when the air-conditioning is off. If your children are left alone in the car too long in this excruciating heat, the consequences could be deadly.
Despite the many safety efforts and increased awareness about leaving children in hot cars, more children died last year of vehicular heatstroke than in any other year in our nation’s history. The National Safety Council report 52 children died from heat-illnesses in 2018 and 11 more have died so far this year.
Since 1998, Maryland has experienced 14 child vehicular heatstroke deaths. The most recent accident, occurring in South Carolina, involved a 4-year-old Maryland boy who died of heatstroke after locking himself in a hot car while visiting relatives.
What You Can Do: Child vehicular heatstroke deaths are 100 percent preventable. According to NoHeatStroke.org, these are the safety measures parents should be following to prevent fatal heat illnesses in the car:
Summer is full of opportunities for children to sustain critical and life-threatening burns. From campfires to fireworks, to grills and hot metal on recreational vehicles, burn hazards are everywhere.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.), burns and fires are the third leading cause of death in the home. Over 300 children ages 19 and under are treated for burn-related injuries every year, with at least two dying from unrecoverable damages.
Children of all ages can sustain burn injuries over the summer. The C.D.C. reports young children are more likely to sustain a burn injury from hot liquids and steam, while older children are more likely to become burned from direct contact with fire.
What You Can Do: Parents can protect their children from burn and fire injuries most effectively by being prepared. When it comes to preventing burns from a house fire, families should be installing and maintaining smoke alarms, practicing home escape plans, and reviewing fire safety with their children to reduce the chance of fires in the home. To prevent other types of summer burns, Stanford Children’s Health recommends the following safety steps to avoid summer accidents:
Playground injuries have been on the rise in recent years. According to the C.D.C., over 200,000 children ages 14 and younger are treated annually for playground injuries. Children ages 5 to 9 were considered at highest risk for playground injuries, with climbing structures rated as the most dangerous pieces of equipment.
While most playground accidents resulted in broken bones, abrasions, and contusions, at least 20,000 accidents on the playground lead to traumatic brain injuries. These types of injuries can alter the course of a child’s life in an instant. Swings, slides, monkey bars, and climbing equipment were all associated with higher rates of brain injuries.
It’s not common for playground injuries to result in death, but it can happen. Between 2001 to 2008, 40 playground-related deaths were reported in the United States. Of these, 27 deaths were due to strangulation by slides, swings, jump ropes, or clothing drawstrings, while six of these deaths were caused by falls.
What You Can Do: Children will pretty much play on any playground, safe or not. It’s up to Maryland parents to find the safest playgrounds in your area and take preventative steps to reduce accidents, such as:
Every hour, approximately 150 children between the ages of 5 and 19 die in traffic accidents. According to the C.D.C., crash-related fatalities are the leading cause of death for this age group, and improper seat restraints are often to blame.
Back in February of this year, five Maryland children were killed in a vehicle crash in Bowie when their car veered off the road and hit several trees. The children, ranging in age from five to 15, were ejected from the vehicle- none of them appeared to be wearing seatbelts.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (N.H.T.S.A.) reported only 89.6 percent of Americans wore their seatbelts in 2018. In 2016, nearly 50 percent of individuals killed in traffic accidents were wearing their seatbelts, and about 38 percent of children killed were riding unrestrained.
What You Can Do: No matter how far you are going this summer, your children should always be buckled up or restrained in an appropriate car seat. The N.H.T.S.A. provides these safety recommendations for protecting children in the car:
Summer is not as much fun if you have to spend it in the emergency room. Take the time to prepare and don’t sacrifice safety for a good time. Get the whole family involved in keeping each other safe to help reduce unnecessary accidents this season.
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Drowning is one of the most common causes of death in children across the country. A fact that is scary enough. But in the summer of 2017, the heartbreaking story of a young Texas boy who died an entire week after swimming from “dry drowning” gave parents another reason to lose sleep.
Marylanders looking to celebrate Independence Day locally this year are making a safe choice. According to a new study by ASecureLife, Maryland was rated as the ninth safest state in the country to observe the patriotic holiday, reporting fewer instances of firework and vehicle accidents occurring in the surrounding days.