Summertime signals fun in the sun for Maryland families who have spent the winter months mostly cooped up indoors. However, all that pent-up energy and the resulting burst of activity tend to bring about higher injury rates during summer, which is why some U.S. hospitals refer to June, July, and August as “trauma season.”
Fortunately, it’s easy to reduce your family’s risk of injury if you follow some sensible safety guidelines related to popular summer activities. To help Maryland parents keep their kids safe, we’ve compiled a number of these helpful tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Remember that if you or your child is injured due to someone else’s negligent behavior, you should contact a personal injury attorney right away. At Pinder Plotkin, we have years of experience handling personal injury cases, and we can assess your situation and inform you of your legal options during a free initial consultation.
To ensure the safety of children at the playground, the AAP says that parents should always supervise children on any play equipment in order to make sure they remain safe. In addition, parents should consider the following playground safety tips:
- The playground should have safety-tested mats or loose-fill materials (shredded rubber, sand, wood chips, or bark) maintained to a depth of at least 9 inches (6 inches for shredded rubber). The protective surface should be installed at least 6 feet (more for swings and slides) in all directions from the equipment.
- Watch out for equipment that is not properly maintained. Open “S” hooks or protruding bolt ends can be especially hazardous.
- Make sure children cannot reach any moving parts that might pinch or trap skin or a body part.
- Never attach — or allow children to attach — ropes, jump ropes, leashes, or similar items to play equipment, as they could lead to strangulation.
- Metal, rubber, and plastic products — including slides, merry-go-rounds, and other common playground equipment — can get very hot in the summer, especially in direct sunlight. Make sure these pieces of equipment are safe to touch before children use them.
- Never allow children to play barefoot on the playground.
Cycling is a fun activity for children that can encourage physical fitness from a young age. However, there are risks associated with cycling, so it’s important to follow a few critical safety tips for your child.
The most important of these is that your child should always wear a helmet to protect against serious head injury. This will also help them develop the “helmet habit” early. Make sure that your child knows they need to wear a helmet on every bike ride, no matter how short or how close to home. Many cycling-related injuries happen in driveways, on sidewalks, and on bike paths, not just on streets.
When purchasing a helmet for yourself or your child, look for a label or sticker that says the helmet meets Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards. Also remember that children learn best by observing you, so set the example: whenever you ride, put on your own helmet.
To maximize the safety benefits of a bicycle helmet, you also need to make sure that it fits properly:
- The helmet should be worn so that it is level on the head and covers the forehead, not tipped forward or backwards.
- The strap should be securely fastened, and you should be able to fit about two fingers between chin and strap. The helmet should be snug on the head, but not overly tight.
- Skin should move with the helmet from side to side.
- If needed, the helmet’s sizing pads can help improve the fit.
Besides ensuring helmet use, parents should make sure that their child rides a bike that fits them properly. The AAP recommends that parents buy a bike that is the right size — not one the child has to “grow into,” which can make the bike dangerously oversized.
The AAP also says that parents should not push children to ride a 2-wheeled bike without training wheels until they are ready, and adds that bikes for younger children should use coaster (pedal) brakes rather than hand brakes.
Skateboard, Scooter, and In-Line Skating Safety
Just like with cycling, proper helmet use is the single most important safety measure to protect children who ride skateboards or scooters, or who wear in-line skates or roller shoes like Heelys. Riders should wear helmets that meet approved safety standards from a reputable standards organization such as ASTM International, and the helmet should be specifically designed for skating activities.
Most skating-related injuries occur due to falls, so inexperienced riders should ride at a speed where they can slow down comfortably, and they should practice falling on grass or other soft surfaces. Riders should wear protective wrist, elbow, and kneepads, which can protect against scrapes, cuts, bruises, and broken bones.
In addition, parents should consider the following skating safety tips:
- Ramps and jumps constructed by children at home are often unsafe. A skateboard park is preferred since it is more likely to be monitored for safety.
- When in-line skating or using Heelys, children should only skate on designated paths or rinks and not in the street.
- Children should never ride skateboards or scooters in or near moving traffic.
- Young riders should never skate alone. Children under the age of eight should be closely supervised at all times.
In general, the AAP recommends that parents should never purchase a home trampoline or allow their children to use one, even under supervision, due to the risk of serious injuries. Surrounding the trampoline with netting does little to mitigate this risk since most trampoline-related injuries happen on the trampoline surface.
Parents who do allow their children to play on a home trampoline — against the recommendations of the pediatricians at the AAP — should carefully supervise their children and should only allow one child on the trampoline at a time, as 75% of trampoline injuries occur when more than one person is jumping at a time.
In addition, homeowners should verify that their insurance policies cover trampoline-related claims, which often require a separate rider.
According to the pediatricians at the AAP, fireworks like sparklers that are often thought to be safe for children can reach temperatures above 1000 degrees Fahrenheit and can cause severe burns, blindness, scars, and even death. In general, the AAP says, children should never be allowed to play with fireworks, and families should attend community fireworks displays run by professionals rather than using fireworks at home.
Contact Pinder Plotkin if You’ve Been Injured
Unfortunately, people who take every possible precaution can still be injured due to another person’s negligence. If the unthinkable happens and you or a loved one suffers an injury due to hazardous conditions or negligent behavior, please contact the legal team at Pinder Plotkin. You may be entitled to compensation, and our attorneys have the qualifications and experience to fight for justice on your behalf.
For personal injury claims, our contingent fee policy ensures that you will not pay a dime for fees or expenses unless we achieve a financial recovery for you. Please call us today at (410) 661-9440 or fill out our online contact form to receive a free consultation regarding your case.
The information provided in this website/blog is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.
Summer safety tips: Staying safe outdoors. (2016, June 6). Healthychildren.org. Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/news/Pages/Summer-Safety-Tips-Staying-Safe-Outdoors.aspx
Toland, B. (2014, May 8). Summertime is ‘trauma season’ for hospital ERs. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved from http://www.post-gazette.com/news/health/2014/05/09/Hospital-fun-in-the-summertime-Summertime-means-weathering-more-injuries/stories/201405090080