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Backyard Hazards And Your Kids

Summer is a popular time for children to visit the emergency room. Parents worry a lot about various sports or activities that can hurt their children -- but fatal or serious injuries can occur simply in your backyard.

The June issue of "Parents" magazine listed 11 hidden backyard hazards for parents to consider this summer. Sally Lee is the magazine's editor-in-chief, she visits The Early Show to talk about the more common and dangerous hazards on our backyard set.

Swimming pool:
Your children can drown in less an inch of water. You must be vigilant around a backyard pool -this includes kiddie pools! If your toddler slips in a wading pool, she may not have the coordination to right herself. Lee says you should empty wading pools when not in use. Keep buckets or other containers of water out of your children's reach. According to Lee it is not unusual for a child to drown in even a bucket of water.

According to the national safe kids campaign, drowning remains the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death in children ages 1-4. The majority of drowning and near drowning occur in residential swimming pools and in open water sites.

In 2000, an estimated 6,900 children ages 14 and under were treated in hospital emergency rooms for unintentional drowning and near-drowning incidents.

Fences are a great way of keeping your children away from pools and from wandering into the street. However, fences themselves can be a problem area when the gap between fence railings is wider than 3 1/2 inches because children can get their head or body part trapped in the railing. So check your fence railings and make sure the gap is less than 3 1/2 inches wide.

Garden tools:
Summer is a popular time for many of us to spend time with our garden. Keep children away from sharp tools. Though this sounds so basic and obvious, adults often forget how curious children are. They see their parents using these tools and they often mimic their parents without any thought of danger. Cuts from dirty garden clippers, hedgers, or other sharp tools can introduce the bacteria that causes tetanus. Check that your child is up-to-date on her DTAP immunizations. If the wound is deep, your doctor may recommend a booster shot just to be safe.

Garden pesticides:
Fertilizers, pesticides, even things like miracle-gro contain chemicals that are toxic. They are safe for plants but not for humans. Store products, but that doesn't mean just put them in the garage -- put them in secure, locked area.

Lawn mower:
In 1999, 78 kids (14 and under) visited the emergency room for lawn mower/tractor injuries. Lee says that parents forget that taking your child on a ride on your lawn mower is not safe. It is not a toy she reminds us. Lawn mowers generate a lot of heat -- so children can burn themselves even after you've turned off the engine and put the mower in the garage. Also the lawn mower kicks up a lot of debris and sometimes that can be rocks or wood chips that can easily strike a child. Lee stresses that you keep your children out of the yard whenever you are mowing. Also store the mower and the gasoline in a locked area -- away from curious children.

Each year, nearly 5-thousand children ages 14 and under are treated at the E.R. for grill-related injuries. If your child touches the hot metal on the grill, immediately run the affected area under cold water.

Lee's advice is not to let your child play near the grill, even after you've finished cooking, the charcoal may still be hot and your child could easily knock the grill over. Also to remember to store lighter fluid, matches out of your child's reach. And have a fire extinguisher nearby as you should in a regular kitchen.

Lee has edited several books on parenting and is the author of "The Best Advice I Ever Got."

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