Keeping summer fun safe

Last year, 219 children were treated in the emergency department at Norton Children’s Hospital for bike-related injuries.

With school out and the days becoming warmer and longer, kids and their parents are looking forward to summer activities. Safe Kids Louisville, a program led by Norton Children’s Hospital, is encouraging families to practice safe summer habits.

Bike, board and blade safe

Last year, 219 children were treated in the emergency department at Norton Children’s Hospital for bike-related injuries, according to Doug Beckhart, bike safety coordinator for the Children’s Hospital Foundation Office of Child Advocacy of Norton Children’s Hospital and Safe Kids Louisville and Jefferson County.

To minimize injury risk:

  • Make sure your child correctly wears a helmet and other protective gear each time he or she bikes, skates or skateboards. A helmet can reduce the risk of brain injury by as much as 88 percent.
  • Ensure your child’s bike is in good working order and isn’t too big.
  • Children under age 10 should ride or skate only on sidewalks, paths or other designated areas

Swim safe

“Never leave children unattended around pools, lakes or other bodies of water,” said Erika Kravic, R.N., child advocate and coordinator of the local Safe Kids coalition. “At social functions, adults tend to think just because there are a lot of adults present someone is watching the children. This is not always the case.” Kravic recommends designating a responsible adult as a “water watcher” to supervise during 15-minute shifts at social gatherings. To request a “water watcher” tag and learn more about the program, sponsored by Pools Plus, call the “Just for Kids” information line at Norton Children’s Hospital at (502) 629-KIDS

Travel safe

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children younger than age 14, according to Sharon Rengers, R.N., child passenger safety coordinator for the Office of Child Advocacy and Safe Kids Louisville and Jefferson County. Many of those deaths are attributed to the incorrect use of child seat belts and safety seats. Rengers encourages consistent and correct use of seat belts, child safety seats and booster seats.

To keep children safe during vehicle travel:

  • Select the appropriate seat for your child’s age, height, weight and behavior.
  • Always place infants younger than 1 year old in rear-facing safety seats.
  • Use booster seats for children weighing more than 40 pounds.
  • Children between 8 and 13 years of age should ride in the back seat and use lap and shoulder belts.

Walk safe

“Children under age 10 are not developmentally capable of crossing the street without an adult,” Kravic said. “This means that parents and other adults must be actively involved in making sure these kids are safe.”

Teach children how to:

  • Choose the safest and most direct route. Take the same route each day and avoid shortcuts.
  • Learn the meaning of all traffic signals and how to safely obey them.
  • Look in all directions before crossing the street. Look left, right and left again.
  • Always cross at a corner or crosswalk.
  • Never enter the street from between parked cars or from behind bushes or shrubs.
  • Be extra alert in bad weather.

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