Summer is finally here. This is a time to enjoy and a time to keep our children safe.
During summer months children are at increased risk of injuries that can lead to an emergency room visit or even a fatality.
I am the Safe Kids coordinator for Centre County, and it is my goal to keep children safe and to educate the community on pediatric safety.
Safe Kids USA is a national network of organizations whose primary mission is to prevent unintentional childhood injuries, the leading cause of death and disability in children age 1 to 14.
We educate families, provide safety devices to families in need and advocate for better laws to help keep children safe, healthy and out of the emergency room, according to the Safe Kids USA website. More than 600 coalitions and chapters in 49 states bring together health and safety experts, educators, corporations, foundations, governments and volunteers to educate and protect families.
The Centre County Safe Kids coalition, established in 2007, consists of community members who share their expertise to educate the community on child safety. The Centre Daily Times has teamed with Centre County Safe Kids and will assist in educating our community through monthly columns.
Each month, a Safe Kids member will provide an educational safety column.
Summer safety topics include: Water safety:Drowning is the fifth-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children age 14 and younger. The main causes of drowning are lack of swimming ability, lack of barriers to prevent unsupervised water access, lack of close supervision while swimming, location, failure to wear life jackets, alcohol use and seizure disorders, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Safe Kids recommends teaching children to swim; making sure children never swim alone; installing four-sided isolation fencing at least 5 feet high and equipped with self-closing and self-latching gates around a home pool or spa; learning CPR and keeping rescue equipment, a telephone and emergency numbers poolside; teaching children never to go near a pool drain and to pin up long hair when in water.
Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when on a boat, near open bodies of water or when participating in water sports.
Dont let kids operate personal watercraft, such as Jet Skis.
Never allow anyone to swim around a dock or marina with electrical hookups or lighting. Swimmers can be electrocuted in the water and drown.
Kids and fireworks:The Consumer Product Safety Commission Fireworks Annual 2010 Report shows that fireworks were involved in about 8,600 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2010. The CPSC estimates that there were 8,800 fire-works- related injuries during 2009.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2006, about 32,600 reported fires were started by fireworks. These fires resulted in six civilian deaths and 70 civilian injuries.
Fireworks can severely injure children, causing burns, loss of limbs and vision and hearing impairment. Fireworks can also start fires, which can lead to property damage, injury and even death.
Safe Kids USAs policy is that consumers should never use fireworks around children or around structures that can catch fire. Even sparklers, which burn at 2,000 degrees, can pose risks, including burning children or setting their clothing on fire. Families are encouraged to enjoy public fireworks displays put on by professionals. Learn more at www.safekids.org.
Lannette Johnston is the Centre County Safe Kids coordinator and nurse with a primary focus in pediatric health. She recently published the chapter on pediatric intensive care chapter for the nursing textbook Clinical Case Studies in Home Health.