Summer is synonymous with warm weather, longer days and vacation time. Participating in outdoor activities and events in the sunshine can be enjoyable, but it can also bring unexpected dangers.  Knowing and preparing for the possibility of summer injuries will help everyone to have a wonderful and safe summer season.

  1. Bicycle Injuries

One of the most common summer time injuries are caused by bike accidents.  Unfortunately, a fall from a bike can be dangerous and result in cuts, scrapes, fractures or even a concussion.  If a motor vehicle is involved in the accident, the results could be fatal.

It is most important to wear a helmet to prevent head injuries caused by a bike crash.  A properly fitted helmet can reduce the risk of a head injury by as much as 85% and brain injury by 88% for both adults and children.  It is also important for children to be educated on how to use hand signals, walk their bikes across busy intersections and ensure the bike they are riding fits the child.

2. Playground Injuries

Children love spending time during the summer at their local playground or backyard play structure.  Monkey bars, slides and swings are lots of fun for kids, but fractures or head injuries can result if a fall occurs.

Choosing a playground built over soft surfaces can help minimize the risk of severe injury to children.  Avoid playgrounds that are located on concrete or gravel and instead look for those that are built on rubber or wood chips.  It is also important to always supervise your children in an effort to prevent a fall from occurring.

3. Trampoline Injuries

As more and more families install trampolines in their backyards, injuries associated with trampolines are becoming more prevalent.  Bloody noses, bumps and bruises may occur, in addition to fractures and concussions.  An average of more than 1,200 Canadian children 17 years of age and under suffer from trampoline-related injuries.

Only allowing one child at a time to jump is one way to minimize the chances of collisions and injury.  It is also wise to install a net around the outside of the trampoline to minimize falls.  Most important is adult supervision while children are using a trampoline.

4. Water-Related Injuries and Drowning

According to the Canadian Red Cross, drowning is one of the leading causes of preventable death in children between the ages of one to four in Canada. 

Whether you are at a swimming pool, lake or ocean, adult supervision is the most effective way to prevent drowning accidents.  It is important to stay within arms reach when your kids are in the water and consider requiring non-swimmers to wear a lifejacket. 

For backyard pools, fencing at a recommended height of 1.2 metres is very important to prevent small children from entering pools unsupervised.  It is also important to always empty toddler pools after each use.

Many enjoy diving when using pools, but this activity comes with the risk of head, neck and spinal cord injuries.  Diving accidents often leave the diver completely paralyzed from the neck down.  Diving headfirst into any water should be avoided unless the individual is properly trained and is certain that the water is deep enough for the individual to dive safety.  Most backyard and hotel pools are not safe for diving as the deep end is not deep enough or there is a chance the diver can strike his/her head on the slope of the pool leading towards the shallow end.

5. Overuse Injuries

Participating in sports camps or recreational sports teams during the summer can lead to overuse injuries, such as tendonitis or Osgood-Schlatter disease in the knee.  Baseball players and tennis players may suffer from shoulder and elbow overuse injuries due to the repetitive nature of their sports. 

Encouraging your child to play more than one sport is the best way to minimize overuse injuries.  Cross-training can also help prevent common ligament injuries. 

6. Dog Bites

During the warmer months, dogs are outside more often and this can lead to an increased risk of dog bites for children.  Dog bites also increase in the summer as there are more unfamiliar guests around dogs during house parties and the heat can also cause dogs to become more irritable and short-tempered.

Children are the most likely victims of dog bites and are more likely to become severely injured.   It is important to teach children the following rules for them to be safe around dogs:

  • to always ask permission before petting someone else’s dog;
  • do not try to pet a dog that is tied up, sleeping, eating, behind a fence or in a vehicle;
  • do not grab a dog’s food, bones or toys; and
  • do not tease or chase dogs. 

7. Heat Stroke or Severe Sunburns

During the summer months, children spend a significant amount of time outside in the sun and heat.  Many children will suffer from the minor symptoms of too much sun exposure, which include nausea, dizziness, headaches and confusion.  The most severe form of heat illness is heatstroke, which occurs when the body cannot regulate its own temperature.  Immediate medical care is required to bring the body temperature under control. 

In order to prevent heat illness from occurring in children, it is important to teach them to drink plenty of liquids before and during outdoor activities, even if they are not thirsty.  Children should also wear light-coloured and loose clothing.  If a child feels overheated on hot and humid days, they should come indoors, rest and hydrate.

Children that are suffering from sunburns that result in blistering or that are accompanied by nausea, confusion, headaches, extreme pain or chills should seek medical attention.  Practicing regular application of sunscreen is important for children under your supervision and is a good habit to teach children at an early age.

The personal injury lawyers at Cuming Gillespie Lawyers wish your family a fun and safe summer!  

Should anything go wrong this summer, know that the lawyers at Cuming Gillespie Lawyers are available to help.  If you or someone you love has suffered a serious personal injury and you would like information about your legal options, contact our experienced personal injury lawyers at our office online or at 403-571-0555 for a free consultation.  We look forward to helping you obtain the compensation that you deserve.