HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Children are returning to normal activities this summer as the COVID-19 pandemic eases, but parents and caregivers should be mindful of the potential dangers summer brings.
Medical and political officials held a press conference outside the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center (CCMC) in Hartford Wednesday to warn parents of the potential pitfalls of summer.
Summer is known as “Trauma Season” in the medical field. Kids will now experience more time swimming, riding bikes, or playing outside, and that can lead to a higher risk for serious injuries.
“We want children to get back out and play to be kids and to get outdoors,” said James Shmerling, Pres and CEO of CCMC. “And with that comes some additional hazards.”
For instance, with the upcoming 4th of July holiday weekend, doctors stressed the importance of fireworks safety.
“Sparklers are the most common fireworks we love holding them in our hands,” said Dr. Leslie Knod, a trauma surgeon at CCMC. “I don’t want them to burn those hands though. Children five to nine years of age have the highest injury rate with fireworks.”
They say this summer, on average, 2,000 kids under 15 will be injured by fireworks.
Officials at CCMC also talked about the importance of water safety and making sure kids get swimming lessons. More than 3,000 kids drown every year. The younger the child, the greater the risk.
Every year, 20,000 kids 14 and undergo to the Emergency Room with traumatic brain injuries from playground accidents. Additionally, tens of thousands of people are treated for skateboarding and bike riding injuries every year.
Officials at CCMC also stressed the need for parents to be extra vigilant at playgrounds as we deal with this heatwave.
“The playground equipment, it can get awfully hot in the summertime,” Dr. Knod said. “Give it the touch test. If the slide is too hot if you touch it, it’s too hot for the kid. They can have an instant contact burn.”
Small children cannot regulate their own body temperatures. If they start to get overly tired or feel sick, get them out of the heat. If they stop sweating, that’s a sign of heatstroke and they need medical help.
Some of their other concerns coming with more startling statistics:
- 38 children will die after being left in hot cars
- 3,300 children will be rushed to emergency rooms after falling out of open windows at home
And, even though this next bit of advice is tough to talk about, the group says you need to keep an extra close eye on your child’s mental health after dealing with such a difficult year because of the pandemic.
“The CDC reported recently that between April and November of last year, the surge of mental health needs in young children was also another side effect of the global pandemic,” said Sarah Egan, State Child Advocate. “We must talk about it.”
The National Safety Council is also out with tips on how to avoid common summer safety hazards. Click here to see those tips.