By Chris Vitale, Injury Prevention Manager, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
June is National Safety Month, and as part of the Injury Prevention Team, we want to keep you and your family safe this summer and throughout the year. As the weather gets warmer, many of us will want to be outside enjoying it, so check out the tips below to stay safe on bikes, in the water, and dealing with the heat.
Beautiful days and the close of the school year mean more kids will be out on their bicycles.
Drivers – Many children will be out and about and very busy with play. Expect them to do the unexpected. They see you as a grown-up and expect you to always see them and always be able to stop.
Parents – Remind your teen drivers about the increased number of children outside in the warmer weather. A car moving 40 mph takes about four seconds to stop, no matter how fast you slam on the brakes. Four seconds will seem like an eternity if a child is in front of your vehicle and you are trying to stop.
Everyone (yes, mom and dad, too) should wear a helmet when on wheels. Helmets can prevent up to 88 percent of head injuries in the event of a crash. Even the safest and most cautious bikers or skaters can hit a patch of loose gravel or crash through no fault of their own. Since you can’t control everything, take the extra step to control what you can: Wear a helmet. Don’t let an injury take away a single day of summer fun.
To learn more helmet-wearing tips and information on where to go for a free helmet and fitting, please visit the Injury Prevention section of Children’s Hospital’s website at http://www.chp.edu/CHP/Bikes.
The community pools are ready to open, and many home pools are already in use. Water safety is the most important preparation for cool, summer fun.
Keep in mind: Drowning is silent. There are no warning sounds or splashing associated with a drowning. Children under 4 years old should be within arm’s reach of an adult at all times. Children over the age of 4, even if they know how to swim, should always have an adult’s eyes on them. At all times, one designated adult should be watching the water and nothing more. If someone in the water is positioned vertically, staring straight ahead with their arms out at their sides and their mouths below the surface of the water, he or she may be in serious trouble. He or she may need immediate help, so always have a phone available poolside, and most importantly, please learn CPR.
Owners of home pools should install alarms on house doors and windows leading to a pool area. Adult supervision, fences, gates with self-locking latches, pool covers, throwing aids, and rescue techniques also are necessary. If you cannot locate your child, check the pool first: Seconds count.
On an 80-degree day, it takes just 20 minutes for the temperature inside of your car to reach 109 degrees! Never leave a child (or pet) alone in the car. Leaving a window open “a crack” does not help. Children’s bodies warm three to five times faster than adults’ bodies do. Always lock your vehicle and be sure your kids do not have access to the keys. If you have a child in the back seat, always keep something you will need in the back as well (purse, briefcase, lunch, etc.) to remind you there’s a child with you.
We live in a fast-paced, busy world and sometimes our minds are full of millions of things; take any steps you can to assist.
We hope these tips provide valuable information to keep you and your family safe this summer and throughout the year. For more information, please visit the Injury Prevention website or call 412-692-8229.