Preventing pediatric injury during 100 Deadliest Days of Summer

Hannah Eberlein Pediatric Injury Prevention Specialist

        It’s not uncommon for kids to get scrapes and bruises periodically when growing up – it’s all part of being a kid. However, there are things that parents and caregivers can do to help prevent more serious injuries that could lead to disabilities or even death.
        We’re in the midst of Trauma Season – the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day – often referred to as the “100 deadliest days of summer” due to an increase in the number of unintentional injuries among children. Trauma season is when 41% of fatal unintentional deaths occur, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. This trend coincides with kids being out of school, spending more time outdoors, and for some, lacking adequate supervision.
        Water safety
        Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among children ages 1-4. Many people often believe that drowning is loud, but it is usually a very quiet event. Caregivers also need to be aware of areas of the home where kids can get into water, such as a bathtub or bucket. Not all drownings occur in pools and open bodies of water.
        One of the best practices for water safety is to designate a Water Watcher. Having one designated person responsible for watching children around water will help minimize distractions and ensure that children are safe. Caregivers can take turns being the Water Watcher for as long as the children are in and around water. Vocalizing who is monitoring is important to ensure safety.
        Ideally, the Water Watcher will be within arm’s length of the children at any time. As little as one inch of water is enough for a young child to drown, so it is essential to have someone always monitoring.
        Teach older children that swimming in open water is different from swimming in a pool. Overconfidence comes into play when children and teens feel they are stronger swimmers than they are for the unpredictable conditions of open water. Having children wear brightly colored swimwear can also help to ensure they are more easily visible.
        Poison and medication safety
        Poisoning is the third-leading cause of unintentional injury death among children ages 1-19 years, and medicines are the leading cause of child poisoning. With kids and teens spending more time at home during the summer months, it is important to ensure that medications and potential poisons – like cleaning supplies – are out of reach and put away.
        Sometimes, even products we may not consider to be a poison or medication can be harmful if ingested. Examples of these items include liquid laundry packets, personal care products, plants, diaper rash creams, vitamins and eye drops.
        It is important to have the Poison Help number in your phone and to post it visibly at home for babysitters or family members. The number is 1-800-222-1222. Contact poison control right away if you suspect a poisoning has occurred. If your child is not breathing, unconscious or having seizures due to contact or ingestion, immediately call 9-1-1.
        Hannah Eberlein is a Pediatric Injury Prevention Specialist with ProMedica Russell J. Ebeid Children’s Hospital and Safe Kids of Greater Toledo.


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