Tips from Randall Children's Hospital to help kids have a safe summer

June 23, 2019

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Summer is here.

The warmer weather and longer days that come with it mean lots of opportunities for families to head outside and enjoy the beautiful Pacific Northwest. With these opportunities also come some new risks for children. The Randall Children’s Hospital Trauma and Injury Prevention Program offers tips for window, sun, water and bicycle safety to help families keep children safe this summer.

Keep kids safe around open windows

Window safety

As the temperatures rises in summer, so does the potential for window falls as people cool their homes by opening windows. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 3,300 children under the age of 5 are treated in the emergency department every year because of window falls. Randall Children’s Hospital suggests the following steps to protect children from window falls in your home.   

  • Keep children from playing near open windows. 
  • Only allow windows to open 4 inches, and install window stops and/or window guards that can be removed by an adult in an emergency. 
  • Lock windows when not in use. 
  • Open windows from the top and use a window stop for the bottom. 
  • Prevent climbing. Keep furniture and anything a child can climb on away from windows. 
  • Actively watch children when they are near windows. 
  • Older children can remove a window stop, so talk to them about the importance of window safety.

Water safety

With the warmer weather, many families enjoy swimming in pools, rivers and lakes but with that comes the risk of drowning. Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children ages 1–4.

The best protection to prevent child drownings is focused adult supervision. At parties and other group settings where children are in the water, often parents assume that with so many people present, someone is watching the children. However, in those situations, that usually means that no one is really watching the children. This all too common dynamic is called diffusion of responsibility and it poses a danger when children are playing in the water.

Randall Children’s Hospital recommends that when children are in or near a body of water, there is one adult who is an assigned “water watcher” at all times. This person’s sole responsibility is to watch all the children when they are in or near the water. This means not being on the phone, getting up to use the bathroom, reading or doing anything else besides watching the children with full attention. The responsibility of being the “water watcher” can be shared by adults at a gathering with everyone taking turns as long there is always at least one adult who knows they are on point until the next person takes over the role.

Sun safety

When families head outside to enjoy the summer sunshine, it is important that children are protected from sun burns and overheating.

  • Sunscreen should always be applied when children are going to be out in the sun.
  • Hats are an important form of sun protection, particularly for infants and toddlers. 
  • Avoid putting blankets over children in strollers as a method of sun protection as that will trap in heat, potentially lead to overheating. It is much better for young children to wear long pants and long shirts to provide protection from sun exposure.
  • Have children drink lots of water when they are in the heat.
  • Never ever leave your child in a car unattended on a warm day, even for a minute.
Bike helmets in community

Bicycle safety

Bicycle accidents aren’t unique to summer but with more people out and about, it is a good time for parents to make sure their children are safe when riding their bikes. Here are some tips to help keep bike riding safe and fun this summer:

  • Bike helmets are the most important protection to help children avoid serious injury in the event of a bike accident.
  • Ensure your child’s bicycle is in good working order and that the rubber coating on the handlebars is in good condition. 
  • Make sure your children know the rules of the road when bike riding, so they know what to do to stay safe when they encounter other bikes, cars and pedestrians.

Randall Children’s Hospital encourages parents to use these tips on window, water, sun, and bicycle safety to help children stay safe and stay out of the emergency department this summer.

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