It’s that time of year again! Summer is creeping up on us and we are looking forward to all the outdoor activities and traveling that come with it.
One thing to remember is that summer also comes with more than its share of hazards. Let’s talk about some common sense actions that can prevent injury – even save your life.
Since the beginning of 2019, Missouri has lost 590 people to traffic accidents on its roadways. Sixty percent of those lost were not wearing seatbelts. Don’t forget to buckle up and, parents, set a good example for your kids. It saves lives. Plus, it's the law in Missouri. According to savemolives.com, car crashes are one of the leading causes of death for children ages 1 to 13 in the United States. How restraints are used in your vehicle should change as your children grow, as well.
• Car seats should be chosen based on your child's age and size. Choose a seat that fits in your vehicle and use it every time.
• The safest way for an infant to travel is in a rear-facing car seat until age two or they have outgrown the rear-facing seat height and weight requirements.
• You should always refer to your specific car seat manufacturer's instructions for height and weight limits. Be sure to read the owner's manual on how to install the car seat using the seat belt or lower anchors and tethers, if available. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 75 percent of child safety seats are not properly installed.
• To maximize safety, keep your child in the car seat for as long as possible (through age 12), as long as the child fits within the manufacturer's height and weight requirements.
Also, when you get out of the car, make sure your child does, too. Every year we read about children or pets dying after being left in a hot car. Don't fool yourself into thinking you'll just "be 5 minutes." In 80-degree weather. The inside of a care will become 99 degrees in 10 minutes and 114 degrees in 30 minutes. If you can't take the kids with you while you shop, leave them at home with a responsible adult.
For those on bikes – motorized or not – wear helmets. Your odds of dying in an accident increase 37 percent when you go without one. Two-thirds of all motorcycle crashes result in injury or death and a surviving patient with a critical head injury incurs on average $171,000 in medical costs in just the first year following the injury.
With pools opening and lakes getting crowded, let’s talk water safety:
• Never leave children unsupervised in or near a pool or spa – even for a moment.
• An adult – preferably one who knows how to swim and perform CPR – should always be within arm’s length of infants or toddlers are in or around water.
• When on a boat or near bodies of water, children should be in a life jacket at all times. And, to set a good example, adults should also wear life jackets for their own protection.
• And watch the use of alcohol when boating. Don't substitute blow-up water wings and toy rafts for life jackets.
• Watch your alcohol intake – 30 percent of all boating accidents and 27 percent of fatal boating incidents involved excessive alcohol consumption. These accidents include crashes, falling out of boats, and being hit by propellers and drowning.
Finally, a word about mowing. This mundane chore can easily become tragic. Minimize the chances of hitting hidden debris by checking your yard for potential projectiles. Wear closed-toed shoes – preferably with a steel toe, along with goggles or sunglasses, gloves and long pants that will protect you from flying debris. Make sure the kids and pets aren't out and don't even think of putting your hands anywhere near a mower's chute until the engine has come to a complete stop.
– St. Mary’s Medical Center is staffed 24 hours a day with emergency medical professionals. The Emergency Department can be reached at 816-655-5450.