Keep children safe during their summer vacation

Last year, 50 kids met their deaths in summertime accidents; 8-10, 14-18-year-old boys are most at risk of injury and death.

School children celebrate vacation 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
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 water.
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 immediate.
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 fiveyears- old.
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 stung.
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.
Meanwhile, 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 heating units.