Tens of thousands of youth sports leagues across the country have canceled their seasons, leaving millions of kids trying to fill that outdoor-activity void. More young people than ever are hopping on bikes, scooters, and skateboards, and cooling off in a pool or with another water activity.
But accidents happen. Each year, U.S. emergency rooms treat more than 200,000 children age 14 and under for playground-related injuries alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and drownings are the leading cause of injury death for young children 4 and under. Three children die every day from drowning.
Safety is always important, and parents should keep in mind these basic guidelines from the CDC and kidshealth.org to reduce the chance of an injury or even more serious tragedy.
Protection on pavement
- Be sure your child wears a helmet that fits properly. Stress the importance of protecting their head in case of a fall so they don’t view a helmet as a nuisance (it’s the law in California for those 17 and under).
- When riding a skateboard or using inline skates, falls can be common. Protective gear like knee and elbow pads and wrist guards is important (in addition to a snug-fitting helmet).
- Educate your son or daughter about basic rules of the road, particularly the dangers of traffic and the importance of walking a bike across intersections using the crosswalk and following traffic signals.
- Kids should be using bike lanes whenever possible and riding on the right side of the street, in the same direction a traffic.
Be wary of water
- Always supervise children when they’re in and around water. Young children should be watched constantly—even a few inches of water can be deadly for very young children.
- Teach children to swim as early as possible: Formal swimming lessons can prevent a large percentage of drownings.
- If kids are on a boat or other watercraft, they should always wear a life jacket that fits properly.
- Be aware if younger kids are swimming with teens who may be strong swimmers or risk-takers. This can lead to children trying to “keep up” and trying things they aren’t capable of.
If your child suffers an injury, consult your physician or call 911. The Department of Consumer Affairs licenses hundreds of thousands of medical professionals statewide, and their licenses can be verified at https://search.dca.ca.gov.