Fort Worth, Texas,
29
June
2017
|
11:35 PM
America/Chicago

Top 4 Injuries Seen at Cook Children's During Fourth of July

Experts provide tips on protecting your kids during Independence Day

We want you to have a safe Fourth of July weekend, so we thought it might help for you to know where your child is most at risk during the holiday.

Through our Trauma department registry, here are the top four causes of injuries we’ve seen from 2011 to 2016 during the Fourth of July weekend (from July 2 through 6).

1. Drownings

#LifeguardYouChild.

We hope you’ve seen that hash tag or heard us talk about it by now because we aren’t going to stop saying it any time soon.

Last year, four kids were seen as a result of a near drowning. Since 2011, the number rises to 24 kids.

“We hope this campaign sends a clear message to parents and adults when they are at the pool or lake,” Sharon Evans, Trauma Injury Prevention coordinator at Cook Children’s. “Adult supervision is critical to the safety of a child in the water and is the difference between life and death for many kids.

"We’re asking parents and adults watching children in the water to go in with the mindset of a lifeguard.”

Ideally, Evans suggests adults get in the water and be in arms reach of their child. “Don’t let your child out of your sight and be there to grab children out of the water at any sign of trouble,” Evans said.

What You Need To Know:

Drowning prevention around the pool begins with adult supervision, but there are other steps parents can take at home to help protect their children from drowning.

Use these safety techniques and layers of protection whenever children are around the pool:

  • Require adult Water Watchers to stay close and actively watch children in water. Water Watchers must stay off cell phones and not talk to other guests during their 15 minutes shift.
  • If you are alone with your child, stay with your child. Get in the water with your child and be in arm's reach.
  • Swim with U.S. Coast Guard-approved life vests. Don't use floaties filled with air.
  • Learn to swim at any age.
  • Learn CPR.
  • Install a fence on all sides of a backyard pool or spa. Secure the fence with a self-latching gate.
  • Use alarms that can be put on children's wrists.
  • Also, install alarms in pools and on doors that lead to pools.
  • Update pool/spa drain covers.
  • Follow pool rules and signs.
  • A fence with a locking gate should surround the pool.
  • Install door alarms to alert adults when a child is entering the pool area.

In large pools, it’s ideal to split up in groups and take sections of the pool.

“If you are somewhere where children are in the pool, insist that an adult be on watch,” said Dana Walraven, community health outreach manager for Cook Children’s, said. “It should be done by a sober adult and that should be his or her only focus during their time watching the kids.”

2. Motor Vehicle Crashes

Last year, four kids were seen at Cook Children’s for injuries related to a car wreck. Since 2011, 23 kids have been treated during the Fourth of July holiday.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in teens, ahead of all other types of injury, disease or violence. The Texas Department of Public Transportation states there are more than 100,000 traffic crashes in Texas each year involving distracted driving.

What You Need To Know

  • Wear a seat belt on every trip.
  • Make sure children are restrained in safety seats that are appropriate for their height, age and weight.
  • Designate an alcohol and drug-free driver or arrange alternative transportation.
  • Don't allow young drivers to drive with their friends. A single young passneger can increase a teen driver's fatal crash risk by 44 percent.

"If it can accelerate your body, it can injure you," said Corwin Warmink, M.D., medical director of the Emergency Department at Cook Children's. "Vehicular accidents, including boats, ATVs, cars, scooters and bikes are all too common on holiday weekends during the summer."

3. ATV/4 Wheelers

The most injuries we had last year during Fourth of July weekend were ATV/4 Wheeler accidents. Five children were treated at Cook Children’s for an injury related to either ATV or four-wheeler accidents in 2016. Since 2011, 10 children came through the medical center, including one child who died.

What You Need To Know:

The state of Texas requires that ATV operators younger than 14 must be under the direct supervision of a parent. The minimum age to operate an ATV is 6, and older for ATV engine sizes under 70cc, 12 and older for engine sizes 70-90cc, and 16 and older for engine sizes 90cc and over. An offense of these laws in Texas is a Class C misdemeanor.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discourages kids ages 16 or younger from driving or even riding on ATVS.

“It breaks my heart to see a child injured. I hope that people will see the reality of this situation. ATVs aren’t toys. They weigh more than 800 pounds and can reach speeds of 50 miles per hour or more. They are very dangerous for kids,” Sharon Evans, Cook Children’s Trauma Injury Prevention coordinator said.

Evans knows no matter how much she warns against it that parents will still let their children ride ATVs. If so, please follow these guidelines:

  • Kids age 16 and younger should not ride an ATV. To reduce the risk of an accident or injury, anyone riding an ATV should follow these tips before and during riding:
  • Take a safety certification program to learn how to operate an ATV safely.
  • Ride an ATV that's right for your size and age. Visit 4-H ATV Safety for information on how to tell if an ATV is right for a rider.
  • Always wear an approved helmet and eye protection. In many states, helmets and eye protection are required by law, particularly for kids.
  • Wear long pants, long sleeves, gloves, and over-the-ankle boots to help prevent scrapes and cuts.
  • Only ride during daylight hours.
  • Always ride at a safe speed on a designated ATV trail.
  • Know basic first aid to treat minor injuries, and be able to get help in an emergency.

It's important to never do the following while riding an ATV:

  • Never ride on a three-wheel ATV.
  • Never ride while drinking alcohol or using drugs.
  • Never ride on paved surfaces or public roads (except to cross them).
  • Never exceed the limit of passengers allowed by the manufacturer.
  • Never allow kids and teens to drive another passenger.

4. Bike Accidents

Seven children have been seen since 2011 for an injury related to riding a bicycle.

From 2010 to 2013, less than 10 percent of patients seen at Cook Children’s for bike injuries wore a helmet.

Numbers have improved from 2015 to 2017 thanks to community education from groups like Peaks and Ladders, a collaboration between Cook Children’s, the Fort Worth Fire Department and Fort Worth Firefighter Charities.

During the past two years, 25 percent of children admitted for bike injuries wore helmets.

“Those numbers are still too low, but we’ve made some progress,” said Sharon Evans, Trauma Injury Prevention coordinator at Cook Children’s. “It’s so important for kids to wear their helmets at all times. Even if they are taking a spin around their block, they need to wear a helmet. Injuries can occur anywhere, even when cars aren’t around. We’ve admitted children who have been injured in their driveways. Even little spills can result in concussions and broken bones.”

What You Need To Know:

Evans said a great way to encourage helmet use is to let your child pick out the helmet and decorate it with stickers and markers to his or her liking. Then, make sure you set the example by wearing your helmet too.

Among parents who say they always wear a helmet, 86 percent say their child also does. However, among parents who say they never wear a helmet, only 38 percent say their child always does.

“With warmer weather, your child will be spending more time on wheels – which means more opportunities for kids to get hurt,” Evans said. “The most important way you can teach your child to be safe is to always wear a helmet."

Safe Kids offers the following tips to help protect your child:

  • Wear properly-fitted helmets, which are the best way to prevent head injuries and death, for every ride.
  • Ride in safe locations like sidewalks, bike paths or bike lanes whenever possible.
  • Follow the rules of the road.
  • Check all equipment at the start or end of every season.
  • Ride together until kids are comfortable enough to ride on their own.
Fourth of July Weekend Injuries201620152014201320122011Total
Drowning47443224
Motor Vehicle Collisions44623423
ATV/4 Wheeler52000311
Bike Injuries1310207
Auto vs. Ped/Auto vs. Bike1013016
Snakes1300026
Burns/Fireworks2110116

Dog Bites

1111004
Motorcyle Injuries1200003
Boat Injuries1010002

 

What About Fireworks?

Since we are talking about Fourth of July, you may be wondering where are the injuries from fireworks. We've seen six injuries from fireworks related to burns from fireworks. Last year, two children were treated here. Since 2011, the Emergency Department has seen at least one kid a year from these injuries, except in 2013.

But nationwide, more than 3,000 children under the age of 15 are sent to the emergency room each year in the United States because of fireworks, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.

What You Need to Know:

Safe Kids says "the best way to protect your family is not to use fireworks at home. Instead, attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals.:

If you plan to use fireworks, make sure they are legal in your area and follow these guidelines:

  1. Closely supervise children around fireworks at all times.
  2. Little arms are too short to hold sparklers, which can heat up to 1,200 degrees. How about this? Let your young children use glow sticks instead. They can be just as fun but they don’t burn at a temperature hot enough to melt glass.
  3. Always have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby. Know how to operate the fire extinguisher properly.

Visit the Safekids site for more information on fireworks safety. 

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Jeff Calaway
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