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Children's Health

Summer Safety for You and Your Kids

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Heat Illness continued...

A word about heat and cars 

Sadly, cases of children being accidentally left behind in cars by distracted caregivers are not rare. Since 1998, there have been about 623 such deaths, according to statistics compiled by Jan Null, a meteorologist at San Francisco State University. And he says the problem doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Over the past 16 years, the 5-year annual average has stayed flat at around 38 deaths each year.

About half the deaths happened as a result of a caregiver forgetting a child in the back seat, according to Null’s statistics. About 30% happened when kids were playing in an unattended car, and 18% were as a result of parents intentionally leaving a child unattended in a car. Here are tips for avoiding tragedy:

  • Leave a purse, briefcase, or cell phone in the back seat. That way, you get in the habit of checking in the back seat before leaving the vehicle.
  • Make an arrangement with your child’s daycare to have them call you if the child doesn’t show up as expected.
  • Always lock your car and car trunk, even if the car is parked in the driveway at home, and always keep keys and fobs out of the reach of little ones.
  • If you see a child unattended in a car, call 911.

 

 

Burns From Fireworks and Grills

July 4, 2002, Sia Karpinski of Akron, Ohio, stepped on a discarded sparkler with bare feet. She was treated for serious burns at the Burn Center at Akron Children's Hospital as an outpatient for about six weeks.

The CDC estimates that about 7,000 people were treated in emergency rooms in 2008 for injuries associated with fireworks. Half of those injured were children. Most injuries involved the hands, head, and eyes. 

Two more causes of serious summer burns are children playing around grills or throwing objects into campfires.

Burn prevention and treatment

Stick with public firework displays handled by professionals. Children should always be closely supervised when food is being cooked indoors or outdoors. Be aware that gas leaks, blocked tubes, and overfilled propane tanks cause most gas grill fires and explosions. Teach children to cover their faces, stop, drop, and roll if their clothes catch fire.

Generally, minor burns smaller than a person's palm can be treated at home. But burns bigger than that, and burns on the hands, feet, face, genitals, and moving joints usually require emergency treatment. For a minor injury you can run cool water over it and cover it with a clean, dry cloth. Don't use ice, which can worsen a burn. And don't apply petroleum jelly (Vaseline) or butter, which can hold heat in the tissue. Consult your family doctor if a minor burn does not heal in a couple of days or if there are signs of infection, such as redness and swelling or worsening pain.

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