NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Spring is here and before we know it children will be out of school, and we’ll start another Critical Days of Summer in Las Vegas.
With the arrival of summer and the last day of school for most students in Clark County being June 5, there are recreational activities to be enjoyed with friends and family in an area that offers countless opportunities to have fun and unwind. If the proper precautions are not taken, however, these new activities bring with them a new list of safety threats that can end the fun quickly.
The national “Safe Kids Campaign” states every year one of four children ages 14 and younger will sustain an injury that requires medical attention. It is also estimated that 40 percent of all injury-related emergency room visits and 42 percent of all injury-related deaths happen between May and August due to children having less supervision, more free time and being more involved in outdoor activities.
Safe Kids USA estimates that across the nation, this summer alone, nearly 3 million emergency room visits will be for children 14 and younger due to serious injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes, drowning’s, bike crashes, pedestrian incidents, falls and other preventable mishaps.
For most families, summer is the time to unwind, enjoy outside activities and plan vacations. However, medical professionals across the country refer to this time of year as the “trauma season.”
While we encourage you to relax and enjoy Las Vegas’ long summer days, it’s important to keep safety in mind. Trauma is preventable. Keeping your children out of the emergency room takes thought, preparation and close supervision. Proper protective gear and other simple preventative steps could help keep your child safe this summer.
Safe Kids USA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the following steps to reduce accidental injury and death to children during the summer months:
· Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows slightly open. If you see an unattended child in a car, call 911 immediately. If located on base let the 911 operator know what military installation you’re on.
· Stay hydrated. Offer children a drink of water six to eight times a day. Even if they aren’t thirsty, offering a drink can aid in keeping them healthy and hydrated. During outdoor play time offer children a drink every 15 to 20 minutes.
· Protect children from the sun; use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher 15 to 20 minutes before sun exposure, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are strongest.
· Actively supervise your child when engaging in summertime activities such as swimming and playing on playgrounds.
· Install four-sided fencing, at least four feet high, around home pools or spas to prevent children from accessing them unsupervised.
· Use the appropriate safety gear for your child’s activities — a properly fitting helmet for wheeled sports and a car seat or booster seat for children younger than six and/or less than 60 pounds. A U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket is recommended for any water sports.
· Walk all the way around a parked vehicle to check for children before entering a car and starting the motor.
· Keep chairs, cribs and other furniture away from windows and install window fall prevention devices, such as window guards, on each window above the first floor to reduce the risk of falls.
· Teach children proper pedestrian behaviors, such as crossing the street at a corner and using traffic signals or crosswalks whenever possible.
Taking a few simple safety precautions can save you and your children a trip to your local emergency room this summer. For more information and additional tips on keeping your children safe this summer, call the safety office at (702) 652-7602, or visit www.usa.safekids.org or www.cdc.gov.