If you are a parent, there is nothing more important to you than the safety and happiness of your children. The mere thought that something terrible might happen to them is enough to grip you with fear.
The attorneys and staff at Casper & Casper get it: we are parents too (in fact, father and son Patrick W. Allen and William P. Allen work side by side). We understand the desire to keep your children safe. This is why we’d like to give you information about summer safety.
Summer is typically thought of as a time for fun and freedom. It’s a time for family vacations and playing outdoors.
Unfortunately, summer fun also comes with many hazards for children: specifically car accidents, unintentional drownings, playground accidents, and dog bites. Let’s talk about these dangers in depth, including what you can do to avoid them and what to do if they happen.
Cars are a significant source of danger for children. These dangers include a car accident during a family vacation or a backover accident.
Car accidents on the road are often out of your control, but you can take some steps to reduce your risk and increase your child’s safety. In addition to driving defensively, you can make sure that your children are properly restrained. For younger children, this means a car seat appropriate for their height and weight—whether a backward-facing car seat, forward-facing car seat, or booster seat—that has been installed correctly. (Consider getting help from a car seat safety technician: the vast majority of parents make at least one critical error when installing car seats themselves.) For older children, this means requiring them to wear their seat belt correctly and never letting them lie down in the seat (this can cause seat belt entanglement).
Backover accidents are common in the summer because children are often outdoors. This type of accident typically occurs when a driver does not see a child playing behind the vehicle. To reduce the danger, it’s important that your children know never to play around cars or in driveways. Adults should also always check behind their vehicle.
Swimming pools, lakes, and other sources of water present a significant danger to young children. According to the CDC, children ages 1 to 4 have the highest rates of drowning of any age group. Most of these drownings occur in home swimming pools.
It’s important to supervise children at all times when they are around water. In addition, consider enrolling your children in formal swimming lessons. This will help teach water safety and reduces the risk of drowning. (That being said, young children should be supervised regardless of swimming ability.)
Young children are curious and are naturally attracted to water. They don’t understand the danger that swimming pools pose, which makes barriers like high fences and locks a critical pool safety feature. Swimming pools are considered an “attractive nuisance” under Ohio law. Homeowners have a legal obligation to prevent children from accessing swimming pools unsupervised. This means that, if a child is injured in a swimming pool (even while trespassing), a homeowner can be held responsible.
Playgrounds are a fun source of exercise and social activity for children; however, broken or outdated equipment on playgrounds can also be a source of danger.
When choosing a playground, check to see if it follows guidelines from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). These guidelines are designed to make playgrounds safer. You can also do your own inspection, checking for cushy ground material (which reduces fall injuries) and age-appropriate equipment.
Children are the most likely of any age group to be bitten by a dog, and they are more likely to suffer severe injuries. As with swimming pools, this is because children do not often appreciate the dangers involved: most children see a puppy and want to pet it immediately.
As children spend more time outside in the summer, the odds that they will encounter an unfamiliar dog increase. To reduce the risk of a dog bite, you can educate your children about when and how to approach a dog. Children should know to avoid dogs that are not with their owners and dogs that are on the other side of a fence. They should also know to avoid petting dogs that are performing any of the following behaviors: sleeping, eating, injured, hiding, playing with a toy, growling, or barking.
If an Accident Happens
Sometimes, accidents happen despite your best efforts. When your child is injured, it’s the worst feeling in the world. You hate to see them suffer, and you want to see them happy and whole as soon as possible.
If your child’s injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence, you might consider a personal injury claim. A successful claim will give you the compensation you need to pay expensive medical bills and care for your child. A claim will also allow you to hold the negligent party responsible and—hopefully—deter that party from harming other children in the future.
If you would like to talk to an experienced personal injury attorney about your child’s injuries, Casper & Casper is here. Our attorneys have the experience, knowledge, and compassion to help you get through this difficult time and achieve justice for your child.
We have offices in Dayton, Cincinnati, Hamilton, and Middletown. Call us to schedule a free consultation at the office most convenient for you.