Injury prevention specialist offers top 10 summer safety tips

Posted at 8:05 AM, May 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-11 08:26:09-04

Summer is right around the corner and that means outdoor family fun. Yet, all summer activities come with risks.

FOX 17 met up with an injury prevention specialist from Spectrum Health who is counting down the top 10 ways to keep your kid safe this summer.

According to Jennifer Hoekstra, the injury prevention program coordinator at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, preventable injuries is the number one reason kids end up at the hospital.

Starting with tip number one.

  1. Never Leave a child alone in the car. Within the first 10 minutes of being in a car the temperature goes up 20 degrees, and a child’s body heats up five times faster than an adult's body, according to Hoekstra.
  2. Always wear a helmet when riding a bike, skateboard, scooter, rip stick, or roller skates. Wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head injury by 80 percent. "It’s important to know how to wear it correctly," Hoekstra said. "Make sure it’s always buckled, level to the ground. We don’t want any tipped back helmets, because then it’s not doing its job."
  3. Be a water watcher. Never leave children unattended in or around water: children can drown in as little as one inch of water. Hoekstra reommendeds that a focused adult watch the children at all times, but adults should watch for no more than 20 minutes at a time to give your mind a break. Drowning victims are not noisy: "We see in the news or in the movies the splashing, noisy, that’s not how it is. If there's enough (water) to cover their mouth and nose, that’s all that it takes," Hoekstra said.
  4. Always wear a Coast Guard certified life jacket when in or around water. In 2013, 77 percent of all fatal boating accident victims drowned, and of those who drowned, 84 percent were not wearing a life jacket, according to Hoekstra.
  5. Stay hydrated! Hoekstra tells us that when you're dehydrated the risk of injury goes up dramatically.
  6.  Keep windows locked or use window stops and only allow windows to be open four inches to keep children from falling out of windows. Be sure children don't lean against screens when windows are open.
  7. When the lawn is being mowed, keep children inside. "It is never okay to have multiple riders on a lawn mower, and it’s always best to keep kids out of the yard so they don’t get hit by shooting objects," Hoekstra said. Things shoot out of a lawnmower at more than 200 miles per hour which is faster than a bullet leaves a gun, according to Hoekstra.
  8. Set strict rules for trampoline usage. If you choose to use a trampoline, Hoekstra says it’s best to limit the number of jumpers to one or two at a time. "Be sure if two children are jumping together they are of fairly equal size. Invest in the safety netting, and set good rules," she said.
  9. Teach children to jump into the lake or pond feet first. "It’s important we are assured there are no big rocks or things where they could injure their neck or spine diving in," Hoekstra said.
  10. Teach kids to put down their electronic devices and be aware while crossing the street. Use designated crossing areas, and always make eye contact with oncoming drivers before crossing the street.

For more summer safety tips, click here.