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Stay On The Safety Track This Summer

  • With school out and summer in full swing, it's time for a safety refresher for kids and parents. Shriners Hospitals for Children have partnered with NASCAR driver David Ragan to educate families with their "On Track for A Safe Summer" program.

    Children are at the highest risk for injury-related accidents and deaths during the summer. About 40 percent of all injury-related emergency room visits and 42 percent of all injury-related deaths happen between May and August, according to Safe Kids Worldwide organization.

    June is National Safety Month, so it's the perfect time to kick off a summer of safe and smart play. With a little knowledge and some simple precautions, many injuries can be avoided. Here are tips from On Track for a Safe Summer to keep you and your kiddos out of harm's way this summer.

  • Drive carefully
    Road trip adventures are on the schedule for many families this summer, so it's important to take special precautions when riding in cars. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death and acquired disability for children and teens. These tips can help you and your children stay out of harm's way while in or around vehicles:

    • Buckle up. It doesn't matter how far you're going or how safe the driver might be; teach your kids to buckle up every time they get into a car. Buckling children in age- and size-appropriate car seats, booster seats and seat belts dramatically reduces the risk of serious or fatal injuries.
    • Be aware. Check around your parked car for children before you back up or pull away. Remind your kids to be aware of moving vehicles and to wait in safe areas where drivers can see them.
    • Stay together. Stay close to your little ones as they get in and out of a vehicle. Hold their hands when walking near moving vehicles, in driveways and parking lots.
  • Fire safety made easy
    Every hour, approximately 16 children are injured from fires or burns, according to the Safe Kids Worldwide organization. Use these teaching points to keep your little ones safe around fireworks, grills and other heat sources that are in greater use in the summer months:

    • Fire isn't a toy. Teach kids never to play with matches, gasoline, lighter fluid or lighters. When they are being used, make a habit of placing these items up and out of reach of small kids.
    • Respect controlled fires. Never leave children unattended near grills, campfires, fire pits or bonfires. Always have a bucket of water or fire extinguisher nearby when burning fires. If you're out camping, create a 4-foot circle of safety around the campfire, and don't allow kids inside the circle. Each year many children are injured when they fall or step into a campfire.
    • Leave fireworks to pros. Fireworks are out in full force in the summer months, but they are not a toy. To ensure a safe celebration, leave fireworks to the professionals. If fire or fireworks injure your child, immediately take him or her to a doctor or hospital.
  • At the playground
    When you're at the playground this summer, take a few steps to make your time there safe. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries every year. Don't be a statistic; keep your children safe on the playground with these tips:

    • Use safety gear. When playing any sport, use the appropriate safety equipment, such as helmets and goggles. Wearing the proper safety equipment can greatly reduce the risk of head and eye injuries.
    • Find the right playground. If you have a choice, take your children to playgrounds with shock-absorbing surfaces. Also, pick parks and playgrounds that are appropriate for the ages of your children. Take a few minutes to survey the play areas for hazards or broken equipment. Most important, always supervise your children while they are at play, and teach them to use the playground and sports equipment properly.
  • Make a splash—safely
    With temperatures rising, it's no surprise families are trying to cool off at pools and lakes from coast to coast. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, drowning is the leading injury-related cause of death for children ages 1 to 4. To keep your family safe, practice some simple water safety tips:

    • Pay attention. Make sure your kiddos know never to go near or in the water without an adult present. Children and adults should never swim alone. Keep your eyes on your children at all times when they are swimming or near a body of water.
    • Use water gear. If you're in a boat or participating in water sports, a Coast Guard-approved, properly fitted life jacket is a must.

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