Summer may be fading into fall, but it will be warm enough for kids to play outside for a couple more months. Although you don’t want to unnecessarily alarm them, there are some dangers that the entire family should have on the radar screen.
Some things to keep on an eye on and talk about with your kids:
The dangers of trampolines have been well publicized for years, particularly in light of statistics like 80,703 injuries reported in 2003 for kids between the ages of one month and 14 years. Most trampolines purchased in recent years come complete with a number of safety improvements including spring guards to prevent hanging and fall through injuries, and high surround nets to keep jumpers on the trampoline. Some people also bury their trampolines so the surface is flush mounted to the lawn to reduce fall injuries.
Fireworks are a major cause of childhood injuries. Males comprise 72% of injuries and almost half of all injuries afflict kids 14 and under. The highest injury rate overall is for kids between the ages of 5 and 9 years old. Know when your kids are playing with them and with whom, and talk to them about using them safely if you allow it – be involved and be present.
Lawn mowing accidents injure more than 100,000 people a year and 8,000 of those are children. On average, 15 children die each year as a result of riding mower accidents. Again, males account for a much higher percentage of the injuries, approximately 75% when it comes to lawn mowers. Adult supervision is a must whenever children are near powerful lawn mowers.
An attractive nuisance is something that draws the attention of children as something fun to explore or play with. Of course the range of things that can catch the eye of intrepid children is essentially limitless, but there are some infamous repeat offenders that should be on the list of things to guard against. Construction sites, vehicle trunks, appliances, with refrigerators topping that list, and construction sites. More obscure but no less dangerous are caves, abandoned mines and wells. Teach your children to stay away but if they find themselves in trouble, have them equipped with cell phones for emergency purposes if for no other reason.
Trees are the original jungle gym for kids. There is no way to keep kids away from them or out of them. If your kids like to climb trees, as most do, impress upon them the dangers of dead or dying limbs and the need to stay from anything that looks like a wire or cable of any kind. Also, encourage them to not climb alone so that if something does happen, there is someone around who can call for help.
Although it is tempting to want to completely isolate your kids from any outside dangers, it is not practical and it would take a toll on the joys of a carefree life for kids growing up. Let them play, just keep safety on their minds when they do.
Bret Hanna of Wrona DuBois in Utah, focuses exclusively on litigating plaintiffs’ medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has represented clients in state and federal courts, in mediations, and in administrative proceedings in Michigan and Utah since 1991.