The roads aren’t clogged with those yellow school buses anymore, and everyone from children to teachers and even some parents are sleeping later and breathing easier. It’s summer—maybe not yet by the calendar, but other factors—mainly the end of the school year—clearly indicate that summer has arrived.
It’s the season for the kind of fun that makes memories for a lifetime—going on family vacations, swimming with friends, exploring the woods, eating foods fresh off the grill, watching fireworks, riding bikes through the neighborhood, etc. Especially for our children—summer is the season for being active outside.
Sadly, it’s also the time of year when danger lurks in the very activities that can be so much fun. That’s why we can’t completely relax and let our guard down.
News reports chronicle these outdoor tragedies. In late May, a 15-year-old drowned in a Hall County reservoir. Two other metro Atlanta children died due to drowning recently—one at a residential pool in April and the other at a golf club pool during a neighborhood event two days later.
The four-month period from May through August is the most dangerous time of year, with nearly 3 million child medical emergencies and 2,550 deaths because of accidental injuries, according to a study by the National Safe Kids Campaign. Those deaths represent 42 percent of the average annual total, the study found.
It’s the responsibility of every parent, guardian, relative and caring adult to talk to children about the potential for threats to their health and well-being while engaging in summer delights and the best way to be safe. These warnings must be repeated, and young people should be asked to explain how they would handle some situations and emergencies.
It’s also imperative that adults think about their role as guardians and not allow themselves to become lax when keeping an eye on the kids when they are swimming, boating, playing by a hot grill or exploring new terrain, etc. While many adults like to enjoy their time in the outdoors with a beer, glass of wine or cocktail, they need to make sure those drinks don’t prevent them from being as alert as they should be to monitor children and respond appropriately if a situation arises.
Summer should be a time when the memories made are of joy and fun, not tragedy and heartbreak. Let’s all be careful out there.
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