When you think of summer, you probably picture long, hot days filled with relaxation and fun activities. You probably don’t imagine nerve-wracking trips to the emergency room.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly the scenario that thousands of families experience every year.
Every day summer activities—swimming, grilling, and even gardening—come with hidden dangers. These dangers can normally be avoided, but it does require vigilance on your part, particularly if you have children.
Let’s have a look at some of the most common hazards facing children and adults in the summer and how to avoid them.
Drowning and Water Injuries
As the temperature spikes, many families head to the nearest swimming pool or lake. For families with small children, however, extra precautions should always be taken to keep everyone safe.
Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death for children ages 1 to 4, according to the CDC. In most cases, the drowning occurs in front of many people; this happens because drowning is much quieter and less obvious than it appears in the movies. A few moments of inattention can have devastating consequences.
Children should learn to swim as early as they are developmentally ready and wear water wings if they are not strong swimmers. When at the pool, parents should constantly monitor young children in and around the water. When at the lake or boating, both children and adults should always wear life jackets.
If you or one of your neighbors has a pool, make sure your children know that they are not allowed inside without your permission. Homeowners should also install a four-sided fence around their pool to prevent children from wandering in.
Under Ohio law, pools are considered an “attractive nuisance,” which means children are attracted to pools and do not fully understand the dangers of drowning. This means that a homeowner may be held liable if a child is injured in their pool because he or she did not take reasonable steps to eliminate the risk.
Product and Tool-Related Injuries
Two seemingly benign summer activities—grilling and lawn maintenance—can cause serious harm. These injuries are often avoidable if you follow product instructions and take safety precautions.
A grill should never be placed within 10 feet of a house, and it should be cleaned regularly to avoid a build-up of grease. It’s also important never to leave a grill unattended or use a grill indoors.
Like grills, lawn mowers are a tool that cause hundreds of injuries each summer. To avoid injuries, lawn mowers should be used only by individuals 16 years of age and older. You should also never use a lawn mower around children.
Sometimes, it’s possible to follow all safety precautions and still suffer injuries. If this happens, a defect in the product might have caused the injury. In cases like these, the manufacturer of the product may be held liable for the injuries.
More than 200,000 children under the age of 14 visit the emergency room every year for playground-related injuries, like falls, cuts, broken bones, and even concussions.
There are a few things that parents can do to minimize the risk of harm while still allowing their children to play. These include making sure that the playground is in good condition and that the material under the playground equipment is safe and soft. Parents should also avoid over-estimating their children’s abilities and should re-direct them toward age-appropriate activities.
In the summer, the amount of time people spend on the road increases. Many people drive to their vacation destination; others drive to visit family and friends around the 4th of July, Labor Day, and other summer holidays. As a result, the risk of a car accident also increases.
To stay out of harm’s way, continue practicing safe driving (as you would any other time of year). This includes obeying the speed limit, wearing your seat belt, avoiding alcohol if you know you will be driving, and not texting or talking on your phone while behind the wheel. In addition, you might consider scheduling your visits during lower traffic times: you avoid dreaded traffic jams and lower your chances of an accident when there are fewer drivers on the road.
Of course, the risk of a car accident can never be completely eliminated. If an accident does occur, seek medical attention if needed, get the information of the other driver, and report the accident. If the other driver was at fault, he or she may be held liable for the damage to your car and any injuries sustained as a result of the accident. Read “Why You Should Get an Attorney If You’re Injured in a Car Accident” to help you determine if you should contact a lawyer.
The attorneys and staff at Casper & Casper want you to have a fun, safe summer, and we hope that the above tips help.
If you are injured while driving or during your summer activities (due to a fall or defective product, for example), we can help. Contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced and caring personal injury lawyer.