While you may think of summer as the start of lazy days in the
sun, emergency room doctors are gearing up for what some refer to
as the summer trauma season. To make sure your summer isn't spent
visiting your local ER, remember these tips from Meri-K Appy,
president of the Home Safety Council.
- Consider the worst-case scenario. Nobody wants
to do this, but it's the only way to be prepared. "It's really
important to think, 'If a young child is outside playing on
playground equipment and falls, how would my caregiver respond to
that?' " Appy says. "If it's a young teen, are you sure he/she can
make all the right decisions immediately? This can make a
difference between life and death." Teach kids how and when to use
911 and help them memorize their address to give to the
dispatchers. Post the number for poison control: (800)
- Do what you can to keep the worst-case
scenarios from happening. Make sure backyard equipment has 12
inches of soft surfacing below it and keep baby gates at the top
and bottom of all stairs. Store the gasoline and oil for the lawn
mower, as well as other lawn care products and poisons, in a secure
location where kids can't get into them.
- If you have a backyard pool, fence it all
the way around, including the side that faces the patio or deck.
The fence should be mesh or some other type that doesn't allow
little feet to climb over, and should always be locked with a key
that is hidden in a place where kids can't find it. Don't install a
combination lock-sometimes in emergencies, people panic and forget
the combination. Know CPR and have rescue equipment and a phone
nearby at all times.
- Think twice about leaving kids home alone.
The maturity to think, "If this happens, then I do this," doesn't
occur until children are in their teens, Appy says. "That's why
leaving a child in the care of a 10-year-old, as mature as she may
seem, we just can't count on them to have the wherewithal to deal
with emergency situations." If possible, consider sharing child
care responsibilities with a neighbor or friend.