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No summer is complete without a little backyard fun, from sprinklers and swingsets to barbeques and backyard games. While summertime activities such as swimming, grilling and jumping on the trampoline are staples for many backyards across the country, safety is also a concern. It’s not only limited to parents either — anyone who has friends and family over for a summertime soiree can benefit from keeping safety in mind while guests are entertained. As you plan your favorite end-of-summer activities, here are a few considerations so you can enjoy the last of the long, hot days in the most safe way possible.
- Every hour in the U.S. a child dies from an injury. (Centers for Disease Control, CDC)
- There were over 8,500 unintentional injury deaths in adolescents ages 0 to 19 in 2020, as a result of accidents such as drownings, falls, burns and firearms. (CDC)
- In 2020, there were 932 recordings of unintentional drowning for ages 0 to 19. (CDC)
- Unintentional falls cost over $1.88 million in medical costs each year for youth ages 0 to 19. (CDC)
- Boys have an overall higher chance of drowning versus girls, with a death rate twice that of girls. (CDC)
- Burns, including from fire and hot sources, accounted for over 300 deaths in adolescents in 2020. (CDC)
- The medical costs associated with burns in adolescents cost over $1.72 million in 2020. (CDC)
- Accidents can happen anywhere, but the Southeast has a higher incidence rate of death by injury versus other parts of the country. (CDC)
- Trampoline injuries were responsible for over 130,000 visits to the emergency room in the U.S. in kids ages 0 to 17. (Safehome.org)
Grilling and fire pit safety facts & statistics
With a few safety tips in mind, you can increase your chances for enjoying your fire pit or grill safely. Keeping a fire extinguisher nearby is one great safety precaution for these two outdoor activities, which also happen to cause a number of injuries each year.
- Although grilling accidents can happen at any age, children two and under are especially prone. Over 900 grilling accidents occurred with this age group in 2021. (Safehome.org)
- Fire and flame caused 2,951 unintentional deaths across all age groups in 2020. (CDC)
- July is the peak month for grilling fires, with over 18 percent of grilling accidents occurring during this month. June had the second highest with 15 percent. (National Fire Prevention Association, NFPA)
- Grill fires were responsible for almost 20,000 trips to the emergency room across all ages from 2014 to 2018. (NFPA)
Safety tips and resources
- Keep your grill located on a flat, level surface. If you place a grill on an uneven surface it increases the chance of starting a fire from tipping over. A level, concrete pad is an ideal location.
- Never leave your grill unattended. While it may be tempting to walk away to join in other activities taking place, you should never leave your grill unattended. Not only does this help cut down on any accidents with children around, but unattended food can flame easily and increase the chance of fire.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from a fire pit. Not only does this reduce the chances of an accident near the flames, but it lessens the likelihood of getting hit by a spark.
Backyard pool and drowning safety
Unintentional drowning can happen at any age, within a minute and with only a limited amount of water. While a backyard pool can be enjoyed by people of all ages, a pool can also be a place where accidents happen.
- There were 2,589 unintentional drowning deaths recorded in 2020, spanning all ages and across the U.S. (CDC)
- Not all drowning injuries are fatal and can also occur in almost any amount of water. Over 6,800 nonfatal injuries were reported in 2021 for children ages 15 years old and younger. (Consumer Product Safety Commission, CPSC)
- Nonfatal injuries around pools and spas increased 17% from 2020 to 2021. (CPSC)
- Drowning injuries can cause brain damage and long-term disability. Over 40 percent of drowning injuries in adolescents require hospitalization or other care. (CDC)
Safety tips and resources
- Add appropriate barriers to the pool area, including fences. You should always secure your pool when it is not being used. A proper fence completely encloses the area and features a self-closing and self-latching gate.
- A second level of safety can be added to help prevent drowning deaths. These include lockable covers and door alarms that are out of reach for children. Door alarms should be placed on any doors with direct access to the pool.
- You should never swim alone.
- Assign a dedicated watcher when children are swimming. If there are children in the pool, have a dedicated child watcher who is within arm’s reach of a child in the water.
- Be careful around pool equipment. Some pool equipment, such as the electric cleaning machines, can cause injury if people place their hands inside. The use of covers can help reduce this risk. Also, double check to ensure ladders are securely and properly placed in the pool. Some drains in the pool can also cause hazards with suction, so it’s important to keep an eye on even experienced swimmers in the water.
Trampoline safety facts & statistics
Home trampolines continue to provide a source of fun and exercise for people of all ages, especially adolescents. However, injuries from trampolines not only result in thousands of visits to the emergency room each year, but in 2018 alone there were over 300,000 medical treatments for trampoline injuries alone.
- Trampoline injuries can occur in multiple ways, including falling on one of the springs, frame or mat. Another common injury occurs when flips or somersaults are not done correctly. Falling is another source of injury, either onto the ground or another hard surface. (American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, AAOS)
- The most common injuries from a trampoline include sprains and fractures in the arms and legs, usually from colliding with other children. Severe head and neck injuries can result from somersaults and flips, including paralysis and death. (AAOS)
- Trampoline injuries and accidents can occur at any age, but 90 percent of the cases involve children between ages 5 to 14. The majority of injuries occur when two or more children are jumping at the same time. (AAOS)
Safety tips and resources
- Children ages six and under should avoid jumping on a trampoline. If you have a trampoline ladder, be sure to remove it when the trampoline is not in use, so little children will not be tempted to climb or jump in it.
- Supervise children jumping on the trampoline. Enforce the safety rules, such as using a harness while attempting somersaults and flips.
- Place your trampoline as low as possible. You can place trampolines on the ground level, which may help lessen the chance of injury from a fall from a higher surface.
- Add a safety net. Safety nets can provide an added safety measure but keep in mind many injuries occur on the mat too.
Surviving in hot weather
Summertime often means soaring temperatures, which also means it’s a good idea to be mindful of heat-related injuries. The CDC provides a thorough list of symptoms for heat stroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps. Common signs of heat-related illness include sweating, rapid heartbeat, high body temperature, nausea and vomiting.
- More than 11,000 deaths in the U.S. have occurred due to heat-related illness since 1979. Adults age 65+ are the most at-risk of heat-related cardiovascular illness. (EPA.gov)
- Extreme heat (defined as high temperatures combined with high humidity levels) is responsible for an average of about 600 deaths per year. (CDC)
- There are numerous risk factors for heat-related illness, including older adults. Anyone who is obese, has a high fever, is dehydrated or using prescription drugs has an increased chance of experience heat-related illnesses. (CDC)
Safety tips and resources
- Always check to make sure everyone is out of your car and secure your vehicle when unoccupied. Never leave anyone, especially children, in a parked vehicle during the summer, even if the window is cracked. Temperatures inside a car quickly increase, which increases the risk of a hot car injury or death. You can place a stuffed animal in your front seat when you have children in the backseat to serve as a reminder to check behind you when exiting the car.
- Stay inside when you can if it’s really hot. Staying indoors in air conditioning is the best way to avoid heat-related illness. If you must stay outdoors for an extended period, wear lightweight and light-colored clothing and sunscreen with UVA/UVB protection.
- Time outdoor activities to cooler parts of the day. Limit outdoor activities to the coolest hours of the day if possible, which is the morning and evening. You can also use shaded areas to help you cool off throughout the day.
Fireworks safety facts & statistics
No Fourth of July celebration is complete without fireworks, but firework use occurs all summer long. However, if not handled properly, fireworks can malfunction and cause injuries to the eyes and skin, even death. Injuries can happen from handling any type of firework, including sparklers.
- In 2021, over 11,500 injuries from fireworks which resulted in emergency medical treatment were recorded. The injuries span across all age groups. (Consumer Product Safety Commission, CPSC)
- Of all the injuries from fireworks recorded in 2021, over 8,500 of the injuries occurred between June 18th through July 18th. (CPSC)
- Young adults ages 20 to 24 years had the highest rates of emergency room visits for fireworks-related injuries, roughly 5.1 injuries out of 100,000 people. Children ages five to nine had the second highest rate, with 4.5 injuries recorded per 100,000 people. (CPSC)
- The most common body parts to sustain injuries from fireworks are the hands and fingers, followed by the face, ears and head. (CPSC)
Safety tips and resources
- Protect your eyes. You can use protective eyewear while handling fireworks, which may help reduce eye injury.
- Extinguish all sparks. When finished handling fireworks, soak them in water to prevent a trash fire. You should also keep a bucket of water nearby at all times when handling fireworks and soak the ground where you set them off in case there are sparks.
- Never let children handle fireworks. Children should not be allowed to handle or ignite fireworks, even sparklers. Sparklers can reach up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Only buy fireworks approved for consumers. If you do use fireworks, make sure they are labeled as “consumer” use and not professional use.
- Avoid setting off multiple fireworks at once. Only light fireworks one at a time and immediately move to a safe distance from them once you have lit the firework.