Keeping Kids Safe In Summer

Summer isn't that far away and, as the temperature rises, so does the risk of serious injury to children.

National Safe Kids Week begins this weekend, so The Early Show consumer correspondent Susan Koeppen reminded viewers Thursday about some common summer hazards, and ways to protect kids from them.

Drowning

In summertime, drowning is a leading cause of accidental death among kids, and they can drown in a matter of seconds. Amazingly, nine out of ten child drownings occur while they're being supervised by an adult.

And not just in pools, but in spas and hot tubs, as well. If you have a spa or hot tub, keep it covered and locked when it's not being used.

A hot tub from Cal Spas that Koeppen had on the set comes with a locking cover, and a safety system that shuts the motor down if a child's foot or bathing suit gets caught in the drain.

Whether you have a hot tub, spa or pool, you also want to put safety fencing around it.

Koeppen showed video of mesh safety fencing from a company called Guardian. Fencing should be at least five-feet high, and have self-closing and self-latching gates that are child-proof.

Wheeled Sports

When the weather's nice, kids want to ride their bikes, skateboard and roller blade. But head injuries are common: they're the leading cause of death in bike accidents. That's why it's so important to wear a helmet.

But all helmets are not created equal. Bike helmets are designed to protect the front of the head. Helmets that protect the back of the head are better for falls while skateboarding and roller blading.

To determine whether a helmet fits properly, Koeppen says to do the "eyes, ears, mouth check." When the child looks up, he should be able to see the bottom rim of the helmet. Its straps, when buckled, should form a "V" under the child's ears. And have the child open his or her mouth as wide as possible. If the helmet doesn't hug his or her head, tighten the straps.

If your child has been in an accident wearing a helmet, don't keep using that helmet — throw it away and get a new one.

And if you have several kids, don't let your smaller kids wear bigger helmets from your older kids; helmets cost about $20 or $30, so make sure each of your kids has the right size.

Windows

Every summer, we hear tragic stories of kids falling out of open windows. Falls are the leading cause of accidental injury among kids, and window falls are especially deadly.

Kids get curious, they lean out too far, and fall out; a window screen alone won't keep them in.

If you have young kids in the house, you need window guards that let air in, and keep kids in, too. They cost about $25, and you can install them yourself.

Also, don't keep any furniture underneath your windows. Move away anything a child can climb up on, such as toy chests. And when you close your windows, keep them locked.

Most window guards have quick release buttons for firefighters if they need to gain access through a window.

For more information about protecting kids from summer safety hazards, go to safekids.org.
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