(Family Features) Summer is a time of playground fun, camping, swimming and other outdoor activities. When kids are outdoors, their sense of adventure and curiosity soars, which can, unfortunately, lead to a higher risk of injuries.
In fact, according to the Safe Kids Worldwide organization, each year one in four children 14 years of age and younger will sustain an injury that requires medical attention. The good news is that many of these injuries are preventable by following a few simple tips and learning how to avoid accidents and injuries.
"We know kids are active, especially during the summer months," said John Cinotto, chairman of the board of directors of Shriners Hospitals for Children. "At Shriners Hospitals for Children, we see patients every day with life-changing injuries caused by accidents. We're always working to help raise awareness that our medical experts are here to get young patients back on track to the childhood they deserve, regardless of the families' ability to pay.
Here are some tips to help your family safely enjoy all the fun summer has in store.
Drive with Care
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death and acquired disability for children and teens. These tips can help you and your children to stay out of harm's way while in or around vehicles.
• Teach your children to buckle up every time they get into a car, regardless of the length of the car ride. Buckling children in age- and size-appropriate car seats, booster seats and seat belts dramatically reduces the risk of serious and fatal injuries.
• Check around your parked car for children before you pull away. Teach children to be aware of moving vehicles and to wait in safe areas where drivers can see them.
• Accompany young children when they get in and out of a vehicle. Hold their hands when walking near moving vehicles, in driveways and parking lots.
While it may seem like just a common household tool, thousands of children are injured in lawn mower accidents each year, some with severe effects.
• Teach children to never play on or around a lawn mower, even when it is not in use. They should never be permitted to walk along side, in front of or behind a moving mower.
• Children under 6 years of age should be kept inside the home while mowing.
Fire Safety Simplified
Every hour, approximately 16 children are injured from fires or burns, according to the Safe Kids Worldwide organization. Use these tips to keep your little ones safe around fireworks, grills and other heat sources:
• Teach kids never to play with matches, gasoline, lighter fluid or lighters. Make a habit of placing these items up and away from young children.
• Do not leave children unattended near grills, campfires, fire pits or bonfires. Always have a bucket of water or fire extinguisher nearby when burning fires.
• To ensure a safe celebration, leave fireworks to the professionals.
• If your child is injured by fire or fireworks, immediately take them to a doctor or hospital.
The Centers for Disease Control revealed that emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries every year. Before you let them play at the park or school playground, be sure they keep these precautions in mind:
• Use appropriate and properly fitting safety equipment when participating in any sport, such as helmets and goggles, which can greatly reduce the risk of head and eye injuries.
• Take your children to playgrounds with shock absorbing surfaces. Choose parks and playgrounds that are appropriate for their age. Check for hazards or broken equipment and continuously supervise your children while they are at play.
• Teach children to use playground and sports equipment properly.
• Remind children that pushing, shoving and crowding on the playground can result in accidents and injuries.
Make a Safe Splash
While playing poolside may be a blast, the Safe Kids Worldwide organization also revealed that drowning is the leading injury-related cause of death for children between 1-4 years of age. Fill your family's summer days with these safe practices around the water:
• Teach children to never go near or in the water without an adult present. Children and adults should never swim alone.
• Give children your undivided attention when they are swimming or near any body of water.
• Always have your children wear a Coast Guard approved, properly fitting life jacket while on a boat, around an open body of water or when participating in water sports.
To learn more, visit www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org.