CAMP HILL, Pa., July 2, 2019 — Whatever your plans are this Fourth of July – fireworks, barbecues, swimming, family road trips and more – Safe Kids Pennsylvania wants to help keep your kids safe this Independence Day and throughout the summer.
Fireworks are beautiful but they can cause serious injuries to children. More than 3,000 children under the age of 15 are sent to the emergency room each year in the United States because of fireworks. Sparklers, which are typically viewed by parents as relatively harmless fireworks for children, account for one-third of the injuries to children under five.
The best way to keep your children safe is to not use any fireworks at home. If you plan to use fireworks, make sure they are legal in your area follow these tips to keep your kids as safe as possible.
- Closely supervise children around fireworks at all times. Make sure everyone is positioned far back from where fireworks are being lit.
- Little arms are too short to hold sparklers, which can heat up to 1,200 degrees. Instead, let your young children use glow sticks. They can be just as fun, but they don’t burn at a temperature hot enough to melt glass.
- Always have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby and know how to operate the fire extinguisher properly. When you’re finished with the fireworks, douse the remains with a hose or bucket of water.
Pools and water are an awesome part of summer. Parents and caregivers need to be great “water watchers” to keep kids safe. Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 14 and under and the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4. To help keep kids safe around water this season:
- Watch kids when they are in or around water, without being distracted. Designate a responsible adult to keep an eye on kids in the water at all times. Learn CPR.
- Teach children to swim with an adult. Older, more experienced swimmers should still swim with a partner every time.
- Swimming aids such as water wings or noodles are fun toys for kids, but are not appropriate to be used as a personal floatation device. Be sure to use a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket or PFD for your kids.
- Teach children that swimming in open water is NOT the same as swimming in a pool. They need to be aware of uneven surfaces, river currents, ocean undertow and changing weather.
- Never dive in water less than nine feet deep.
On bikes, scooters, skateboards and wheeled sport activities: use your head, wear a helmet. More than 70 percent of children ages 5 to 14 (27.7 million) ride bicycles. Each year, bicycle crashes kill about 900 people; 200 of those are children under 15 years old.
- Make it a rule: every time you and your child ride a bike, wear a bicycle helmet that meets the safety standards developed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. If your child is reluctant to wear a helmet, try letting him or her choose his own.
- Make sure the helmet fits and your child knows how to put it on correctly. A helmet should sit on top of the head in a level position, and should not rock forward, backward or side to side. The helmet straps must always be buckled but not too tightly.
- Ensure proper bike fit by bringing the child along when shopping for a bike. Buy a bicycle that is the right size for the child, not one he will grow into. When sitting on the seat, the child’s feet should be able to touch the ground.
- Make sure the reflectors are secure, brakes work properly, gears shift smoothly and tires are tightly secured and properly inflated.
When it comes to summer travel safety, buckling up on every ride is the single most important thing a family can do to stay safe in the car. Seventy-three percent of car seats are not used or installed correctly, so before you hit the road, check your car seat. Here are some other child passenger safety tips:
- Use a car seat that’s right for your child’s age and weight. Safe Kids PA recommends all children ride in the back seat. Never place a rear-facing child restraint in the front seat if the air bag is turned on.
- Use a booster seat with the vehicle lap AND shoulder safety belts. For most kids, they will be between ages 8 to 12 years old before they are ready for the seat belt alone.
- Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children. Never leave your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. A car can heat up 19 degrees in just 10 minutes. And cracking a window doesn’t help. Young children are particularly at risk, as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s.
Keep kids safe during that summer barbeque by declaring a 3-foot “kid-free zone” around the grill and following other tips:
- Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings, out from under eaves and overhanging branches and a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic.
- Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.
- Be careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire because the flames can flashback up into the container and explode.
- Grill only outdoors! If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces, such as garages or tents, barbecue grills pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to carbon monoxide.
- Never leave the grill unattended while cooking. The number one cause of residential fires is unattended cooking.
Enjoy the summer. Stay safe and have fun.
For more information about summer safety, visit PA Safe Kids.
Safe Kids Pennsylvania at Center for Schools and Communities works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children ages 1 to 14. Safe Kids Pennsylvania is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Pennsylvania was founded in 1991.