Q&A: Keeping kids safe in the summertime

6:53 AM, May 14, 2007   |    comments
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Answers provided by Leslie Feuerborn.

Q. Today is Mother's Day and summer is just around the corner. Kids are out playing more. But I understand that emergency personnel call this "trauma season". Tell me about this?

It's a great time of year. For kids, this means warm weather and extra time for swimming, cycling, skateboarding and participating in other outdoor activities. For families it means car trips to the mountains, reservoirs and family gatherings. But for emergency personnel summer is also known as "trauma season" because it is the time of year when additional deaths and serious injuries to children increase dramatically. Many people don't realize that accidental injuries are the leading cause of death of children ages 14 years and younger.

In the United States, more than 2,000 children die each summer from injuries that could have been prevented. That's an average of 17 children per day.

In Colorado, on average about 30 children under the age of 15 die each year during the summer months.

Q. What are some of the more common causes of children's injuries during the summer?

The 5 most common causes of injury death in summer are:

-Pedestrian injuries
-Motor vehicle passenger injuries

Almost 60 percent of all child accidental injury deaths from May to August come from these risk areas.

Q. Can you explain to me a little about what Safe Kids Denver Metro does?

We are the car seat people, the bicycle helmet people. We are a coalition of more then 50 organizations and individuals from throughout the Denver metro area who share a common mission of reducing the incidence of preventable injuries in children by creating awareness and educating adults and children. And we work with our partners to advocate for effective child safety laws.

Q. Tell me about some of your successes.

A big part of what we do is educate the community about safety in and around cars including car seat check up events. We recently heard from a woman who had attended one of our check-up events to have her 2 children's car seats checked. The technicians helped her install her seats successfully. She left the event and within a week or so after the event the mom hit a deer. Fortunately, the kids were okay and she told us that she felt the car seat inspection prevented her kids from being injured.

We also have been working with the Boy Scouts on a new patch program developed by Safe Kids and Chevrolet geared toward cub scouts teaching them about safety in and around cars. We take them through interactive stations to learn about how drivers can't see children when they are behind cars, about not leaving children alone in cars, seat belt fit test and about the dangers of playing in the trunk of a car.

I ran into a mother whose son had gone through our program earlier this year and she told me a follow up story about her son. During the event her son had received a new booster seat. He was so excited about his new seat and all that he learned in the program that when he got home he took his old booster seat, which was still in good shape, to a neighborhood friend who did not have a seat. He felt it was so important that his friend also be safe and in a booster seat.

Q. What is going on this month in Denver with Safe Kids?

We are celebrating National Safe Kids Week during the month of May – "Make It a Safe Kids Summer". We are partnering with several of our coalition members in their communities to host safety fairs, water safety programs, and car seat check up events.

Next Saturday, there is a car seat check up event at Century Chevrolet in Broomfield and a Safety Fair and Bike Rodeo at Sheridan Middle School. And on Sunday, the Westminster Fire Department is hosting a Target on Safety event at 104th and Highway 36.

Q. Any final tips for parents?

Two crucial things for parents, grandparents and other caregivers need to do is actively supervise their children while they are engaging in summertime activities. That includes while they are in the home and backyard. We've already had too many kids falling out of windows this spring.

Use the appropriate safety gear for your child's activities - including car seats or booster seats, helmets, life jackets.

(Copyright Associated Press, All Rights Reserved)

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