The Medical Minute: Stay safe around the house this summer

By Susan Rzucidlo, R.N.

Each of five major child injury hazards -- motor vehicles, drowning, burns, falls and poison -- can be found in the back yard or around your home during the summer. Riding mowers, inflatable pools, home playground equipment and even natural vegetation and sunlight require a few simple precautions for a fun and safe summer break.

All of the safety guidelines you apply to sports, and swimming apply to those activities in your own back yard. For instance, an inflatable pool needs to be surrounded by a fence, just like any other pool. Another example: Home playground needs to be anchored on an appropriate surface just like equipment on a public playground.

Here are some other simple precautions you can take to ensure safe activities in the back yard:

-- Install four-sided isolation fencing with self-closing and self-latching gates around pools and spas. Wading pools should be emptied after each use and stored upside down. Always actively supervise children around water.
-- Be sure home is age-appropriate and surrounded six feet in all directions by at least 12 inches of loose fill materials such as shredded rubber or . Grass and are not safe surfaces for equipment.
-- Remove potential poisons from your yard, including poisonous plants, pesticides and pool chemicals. Teach kids not to handle or eat any part of a plant unless you know it is safe.
-- Keep children away from the grill area while preheating and cooking and while the grill is cooling.
-- Teach children not to disturb or feed any , no matter how harmless the animals may seem.
-- Look all around vehicles in the driveway before backing up to make sure that no children or adults are behind the vehicle.
-- Apply sunscreen rated SPF 15 or higher to your child’s exposed skin 15 to 30 minutes before going out, and reapply frequently. (It is possible to get a sunburn in cloudy conditions.)
-- Make sure your child stays hydrated.

More information: For more information on keeping you and your family safe at home, play and on the way, call the pediatric trauma program injury prevention line at 717-531-SAFE (7233).

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Injury prevention for children with special needs

May 15, 2012

Injuries are both predictable and preventable and the leading cause of death and disability for all children 1 to 14 years of age. All children and their families need information on keeping their children safe as they grow ...

New study uncovers the dangers of portable pools

Jun 20, 2011

As the weather gets warmer, many parents will turn to pools to keep their family cool. Due to their low cost and ease of use, portable pools - which include wading pools, inflatable pools and soft-sided, self-rising pools ...

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

Oct 24, 2014

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

Oct 24, 2014

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

Oct 24, 2014

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments