Common Summer Injuries Around The House
Summertime transforms almost any yard into a vacation retreat with the opportunity for outdoor play, barbeques, gardening and just soaking up the sun. Without some safety precautions, it's also the time when you're at risk for some common household injuries.
Backyard Playground Mishaps
Kids love to exercise their muscles and their imaginations on backyard play equipment during the warm weather. When kids climb, however, some falls are inevitable and may result in:
- Broken bones
- Broken or lost teeth.
To prevent injury in your backyard playground:
- Avoid putting equipment up on surfaces such as asphalt, concrete or even grass. Safer choices that truly cushion your child's falls include pea gravel, rubber, fine sand, mulch chips or hardwood fiber, with a minimum depth of nine inches.
- Supervise your kids and make sure they aren't pushing, shoving, crowding around equipment or getting too rough with each other.
- Choose playground equipment with a maximum fall height of five feet for preschoolers and seven feet for older kids.
- Buckle kids into swings.
- Don't allow kids to go headfirst down slides, run on slides, stand on swings or jump off the top of high equipment.
Backyard trampolines are all the rage, since kids of all ages love to soar with a bouncy spring when they jump. Unfortunately, trampolines present a prime risk for summer injuries. According to a study done by the Hasbro Children's Hospital in Rhode Island, 91 percent of trampoline injuries occur at home.
Although people get hurt falling off trampolines, surprisingly, the vast majority of trampoline injuries happen on the trampoline itself and are due to:
- Colliding with other jumpers
- Falling onto springs or metal supports
- Falling on the trampoline mat.
These are some of the most common injuries from trampoline accidents:
- Spinal injuries
- Ankle, elbow or wrist fractures.
For safe trampoline fun:
- Supervise kids on the trampoline at all times. If possible, have spotters around the trampoline to catch kids who start to fall.
- Only allow one jumper at a time. All jumpers, particularly small children, are more likely to be injured when someone else is jumping with them.
- Don't use the trampoline when it's wet.
- Pad all springs and supporting bars.
- Jumpers should always be barefoot.
- Don't allow somersaults on trampoline to protect jumpers' necks and spines.
- If possible, position your trampoline mat at ground level, over a pit. For instructions on how to install an in ground trampoline, see In Ground Trampoline Installation Instructions.
Backyard swimming pools bring sweet days of sparkling water, laughter and silly splashing. Sadly they are also a common cause of summer household injuries including:
- Falls around pool: When kids run around the pool, they may fall on concrete causing cuts, scrapes and sometimes fractures or chipped teeth.
- Diving and swimming accidents: Diving in shallow water or swimming into walls may lead to head and spinal injuries and even drowning if loss of consciousness occurs.
- Other drowning risks: Falling into a backyard pool or becoming sick while swimming can have tragic consequences.
These simple measures will help keep your pool area safe:
- Never swim alone or allow anyone else to swim alone in your pool.
- Don't dive or allow diving in water less than nine feet deep, as recommended by the American Red Cross.
- Always have an adult or lifeguard-certified teen supervise swimmers.
- If you're supervising the pool and have to leave for a moment, make sure all children get out of the water until you come back.
- Don't allow anyone to run around the pool area.
- Surround your pool with a self-closing, self-latching fence, use a pool cover and install a pool alarm.
- Learn CPR and invest in swimming lessons for your kids.
Heat and Fire Hazards
Don't let summertime burn you! Here are some ways to avoid common burns and heat-related injuries in your home and yard:
- Sunburn: Use plenty of sunscreen and reapply it frequently. Try to avoid extended sun exposure during the peak burning hours of 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM.
- Grill burns: Supervise the grill area, keep children at a distance and use mitts when barbequing.
- Fireworks injuries and burns: Backyard fireworks are dangerous, and in many areas of the country, illegal. If you must use them, keep children far away. Better yet, go see a professional fireworks display.
- Campfire burns: Supervise children around your campfire and make sure no one is roughhousing near flames.
- Heat exhaustion, heat stroke and dehydration: Be sure you and your kids drink lots of fluids with electrolytes. Keep indoor areas cool with air conditioning if possible, or use window fans to provide ventilation.
Maintaining your yard is another area of summer safety concern. Lawn mowers and other yard equipment have sharp blades and areas that get hot. Many also use gasoline or electricity, which can cause injury if used improperly. To avoid cuts, burns, broken bones and other injuries when caring for your property:
- Only allow adults or mature kids to use yard equipment.
- Never let small children ride on your riding mower.
- Wash your hands if they come in contact with gasoline.
- Wear closed shoes, gloves and goggles.
Summer Foot injuries
Almost nothing feels better than bare feet, until you injure them. During the summer, foot injuries increase because so many people like to go barefoot. These include:
- Puncture wounds
- Toe sprains
To keep your feet happy around your home, only go barefoot in the safest areas of your property, and have some flip-flops on hand in case the ground turns out to be sharp, hot or rough.
With a little care and planning, you and your family can avoid injuries and create only happy summer memories.