School children celebrate vacation 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
As last year’s summer vacation ended with the deaths of 50 children and youths
from a variety of causes – from car and bicycle accidents and drownings to falls
and accidental poisonings – children’s organizations are urging parents to
supervise them and ensure their safety. Beterem, the National Center for
Children’s Safety and Health, and Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petah
Tikva noted on Sunday that high school pupils are already on vacation and
elementary schools are shutting down at the end of June.
The most at risk
age groups are 8 to 10-year olds, and 14 to 18-year-olds, with boys at higher
risk of injury and death. Beterem director Orly Silbinger suggested that
an adult – parent or other relative, neighbor or childcare giver – be assigned
in advance to be responsible for the safety of the younger children in the
family during summer activities.
Parents are also urged to minimize
children’s exposure to the sun’s, to much of which will raise the risk of skin
cancer, and prevent dehydration by ensuring that they drink plenty of
Dr. Yehezkel Weisman, head of emergency medicine at Schneider,
said the symptoms of dehydration usually begin slowly and include abnormally
small amounts of urine, dry mouth, crying without tears, headaches or dizziness.
But in extreme cases, effects can be sudden and treatment must be
All children and adults who are on wheels, such as skates,
roller blades and other means, must wear appropriate helmets, and knee
protectors are recommended. One should ride only in spaces meant for such
activities and not on busy streets.
Away from home, the designated adult
is responsible for the child’s wellbeing and pool lifeguards, park workers amd
similar should not be relied upon; one recalls the near-drowning of a four-year-old boy
recently at Kibbutz Ramat Rahel’s pool, whose management claimed the mother was
negligent in keeping a constant eye on him.
Children up to age five need
constant, close supervision when in the pool and should be taught to swim from
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In crowded conditions, prevent the child from getting
lost by always keeping him in eyesight, pre-setting a meeting point where one
can find each other and prepare in advance a sticker or note on the child for
giving your cellphone number.
Never leave a young child alone in a car
alone, even for a minute, said Silbinger. The child could lock the vehicle from
inside leading to a dangerous rise in temperature in the car. All children must
have suitable car seats in vehicles.
Jellyfish season has already begun
in the Mediterranean Sea, bringing with it the possibility of getting nastily
Do not wash affected parts of the body with potable water but with
saltwater or vinegar to reduce pain. If boils cover a significant amount of
skin, seek immediate medical help.
Insect bites can turn from a nuisance
into a danger if allergic reactions result in difficulty swallowing, shortness
of breath or facial or lip swelling; in this case, go for immediate medical
attention. Do not let young children go onto balconies with low railings – in
homes or in shopping centers – to prevent falls.
Children who spend most
of their summer sitting in front of TV sets and computer screens are likely to
end up weighing much more when school resumes. Take them for regular exercise
and safe, outdoor activities and encourage healthful eating.
Silbinger met Sunday with MK Zevulun Orlev (chairman of the Knesset Committee
for Children’s Rights), Wolfson Medical Center director Yitzhak Berlovich
(chairman of the National Council for Home and Leisure Safety) and Moti Kidor,
chairman of the Building Contractors Association, on setting down standards for
safe building for children. An accord was reached to set new, mandatory
standards for safer surroundings, from windows and doors to balconies and
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