We have all been warned of the evils of dehydration, heat stroke, bee stings, drowning and scorching sunburns in the summertime. Reminders to keep your little ones lathered in sunscreen and bug spray are floating all over the Internet. However, there are many other summertime dangers that do not get the attention they need.
Here are seven deadly dangers that all parents should be aware of this summer:
1. Picnic poisoning
A summer picnic at the park is a wonderful family activity. However, there is something all parents should be aware of as they pack their baskets: food poisoning. Surprisingly, picnic food poisoning puts thousands of people in the hospital each summer. Anything that contains mayonnaise, eggs, dairy or meat can develop bacteria in just a couple of hours when left in the sun. To avoid this, try packing your meal in a chilled cooler to ensure things stay bacteria-free. Also, make sure all picnic foods are fully cleaned and cooked before eating.
2. Playground burns
Sitting under the blazing summer sun, playground equipment can really heat up. If it gets hot enough, a fun day at the park could end in the tears of little children who have gotten burned by their magical world. Always check out the temperature of the equipment before letting your kids play. Playgrounds with metal slides should be avoided altogether.
3. Secondary drowning
Your trip to the pool was a success. Besides having to scold your son for dunking his younger sister under the water, things went well. The kids are at home, happily playing in the backyard. No one drowned " yet.
Secondary drowning or "near drowning" occurs when a child accidentally inhales water while swimming. The water trapped inside the child's lungs produces an inflammatory effect, causing the act of breathing to become extremely difficult. If secondary drowning is left untreated, the result can be fatal. If you notice your son or daughter coughing, acting abnormally tired or having changes in his or her mental and emotional behavior after a day at the pool, go to the emergency room immediately.
4. Amusement accidents
A fun family day trip to the amusement park can quickly become less amusing when you find yourself racing to the hospital. Although public amusement parks are required to pass strict safety tests, the reality is, accidents still happen. Check that your child follows the rules and instructions for each ride. They might seem obvious and rather obnoxious to you, but something as simple as keeping your "arms and legs inside the ride at all times" or waiting until "the cart has come to a complete stop before exiting" could save your little ones from bruises, broken bones and concussions.
It is also very important to have the "stranger danger" talk with your kids before entering an amusement park. Make sure everyone has a buddy at all times and warn your children about talking to strangers.
5. Window falls
Each day, approximately 14 children are treated for injuries related to window falls. With the increase in temperature comes an increase in the number of windows opened in each house. Believe it or not, this can be a very serious danger, especially to toddlers and small children. Toddlers are prone to exploring new things, and looking out an open window on a sunny day has proved to be a rather common temptation. Leaning out to see what wonderful things are out there, these top-heavy little ones tumble out the window. Tragically, these falls can result in horrible injuries and early deaths.
6. Amputated toes
Even Saturday chores can take a disastrous turn for the worst. There have been too many children hurt by lawn mowers and other yard work machinery during the summer. Always have your kids put on sturdy close-toed shoes and long pants before helping out with the lawn. It is well worth protecting those little fingers and toes.
7. Hot car tragedies
I am sure many of us have heard the awful stories of sleeping babies left in a hot car that never woke up. These stories are absolutely heartbreaking. Parents, never leave your child in the car on a summer day - even for a few minutes. Children under the age of four are extremely vulnerable to high temperatures. A few minutes left in the heat can have deadly consequences.
Keep these things in mind as you and your family go about your summer fun. Becoming aware and spreading this awareness to others of these deadly dangers will help prevent little ones from suffering horrible injuries and illnesses this season. It could even save a child's life.