Emergency-room professionals have their own name for the long, lovely, lazy days that kids look forward to in summer: trauma season. Because that’s when hospitals see a spike in drownings and heat-related accidents.
MYTH: Pool parties are safe as long as adults are around.
FACT: In a minute, a child can go under water. In two or three minutes, the child can lose consciousness. In four or five, the child could suffer irreversible brain damage or die. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional, injury-related death for children 1 to 14 years old, second only to car and transportation-related accidents.
MYTH: It’s safe to keep kids in car seats when the driver gets out for a quick errand. FACT: The temperature inside a car can rise quickly in the summer, leading to brain damage, kidney failure and death in minutes. When outside temperatures are between 80 F to 100 F, the temperature inside a car can quickly rise to more than 170 F. With an outdoor temperature of 83 F, internal car temperatures can reach 109 F within 15 minutes, even with windows rolled down two inches. Children are less able to handle extreme heat than adults.
Sources: Dr. Philip Ewing, physician in the emergency department at Children’s Medical Center; Dr. Mark Till, chairman of emergency medicine at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas; Terri Ford, community health outreach manager at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth; and Dr. John F. Marcucci, emergency department medical director at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano.
There are some simple steps that you can take to prepare yourself and your family should an unintentional accident occur while having some summer fun.