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News Release

Prevent injuries and keep kids safe this summer

WHITBY, ON May 25, 2016

Durham Region Health Department is reminding parents and caregivers about the hazards that can prevent children from being safe during the summer months. Whether visiting family and friends, or staying at hotels, campsites or at cottages over the summer, there are ways to ensure kids are protected from various hazards.

According to a recent Health Department survey, injuries are the leading cause of trips to the hospital for young children birth to four-years old and falls are the top reason for these hospital visits.

“During the summer, many families often enjoy time away from home,” said Lynn Ryan, a public health nurse with the Health Department. “While families may have their own homes safety-proofed, it’s important to ensure that parents also remember to check for safety hazards when traveling.”

The Health Department found that in the last 10 years, area children birth to four-years old ranked higher than any other age group for emergency room visits and hospitalizations due to unintentional drowning. A 2015 Cost of Injury in Canada report shows that injury kills more Canadian children than all other causes combined.

Some common summer safety hazards for children that parents and caregivers should be aware of include:

  • Falls when climbing rocks or playground structures and outdoor balconies.
  • Drowning risks in backyard pools, ponds or at the beach.
  • Burns resulting from a barbeque or campfire. Using lit sparklers, or roasting marshmallows or hotdogs is not advised for young children.
  • Poisoning dangers from medications or cleaning supplies can be present in places where young visitors are not common.

“Summer excitement and activities can take your attention away from watching young children,” explained Ms. Ryan. “The best way to prevent injuries to young children is to watch them closely.”

To reduce the risk of injury while away from home, parents are encouraged to:

  • Thoroughly search for hazards before a child is exposed to them and take action to address hazards if possible. It may be helpful to search the floor level to see what your child can reach.
  • Check that windows cannot be opened more than 10 centimetres (four inches) and that balcony doors can’t be opened by a young child.
  • Ensure that a baby or toddler has a safe place to sleep that will prevent them from exploring and getting into danger at night or during naptime when parents aren’t watching.

“It’s also important for parents and caregivers to be aware of their child’s stage of development,” Ms. Ryan added. “Young children are naturally curious and want to explore their surroundings. However, children’s physical skills, such as jumping and climbing, develop before they have the ability to understand dangers related to water depth, falls from heights and other hazards that can result in serious injury.”

For more information on preventing child injuries, or to obtain a free copy of the “Keeping Kids Safe” resource, please call Durham Health Connection Line at 905-666-6241 or 1-800-841-2729.

Media inquiries:

The Regional Municipality of Durham:

Glendene Collins – Health Department, 905-668-7711 ext. 2999

If this information is required in an accessible format, please contact the Accessibility Co-ordinator at 1-800-372-1102 extension 2009.

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For more information, please contact Health Department.