As school vacation begins, keep children off casualty list

Risk of preventable accidents rises sharply during vacation time.

Negev car crash 311 (photo credit: Channel 2)
Negev car crash 311
(photo credit: Channel 2)
With high school pupils already on vacation and kindergarten and elementary pupils about to follow them, the risk of preventable accidents rises sharply, according to Beterem, the national center for child safety and health.
Last July and August, 28 children and teens died on the road, at recreation spots, at home or close to home, while the summer vacation death toll of under-18s between 2004 and 2009 was 184.
Beterem noted that 43 percent of those youngsters who died last summer had drowned, 35% died in road accidents, 7% in falls, 4% by choking or strangling and 11% died of other causes such as being harmed by animals, accidental poisoning and burns.
The center urges parents not to leave young children in vehicles alone for even a moment, as some have been forgotten there. Between 2004 and 2007, 40 children were left in hot vehicles, and four of them died.
The United Hatzalah rescue and first-aid organization has printed up car stickers in a variety of languages to remind adults never to leave children in vehicles alone.
A 37-degree Celsius heat outside can produce 58 degrees even if a window is left a bit open, said Beterem director Orly Silbinger; and when totally closed, the vehicle can become a deadly grill.
Even though current law allows adults to leave children alone and unsupervised from age six, Beterem urges the changing of the law to nine or even older. A baby-sitter should not be under the age of 14, the organization says. Always leave emergency numbers and instructions for an emergency with the babysitter and older children who remain alone at home.
An adult must supervise when children are at the pool and the beach. When going to recreation areas and hotels, make sure safety rules are observed. Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera reported that only last week, three children who nearly drowned to death were brought to the emergency room.
Emergency department head Dr. Jalal Ashkar urged all parents to look carefully at their homes for possible dangers. Any unused electric sockets must be covered with plastic pieces meant for this purpose. While an adult cooks, make sure pot and pan handles face inwards and cannot be reached by young children.
Hot-water kettles must be stable and inaccessible to youngsters.
Children on bicycles and other wheeled objects must by law wear certified helmets at all times.
Keep an eye on children with fever, vomiting, and diarrhea and prevent dehydration due to heat and viral or bacterial infections.
When in nature areas, don’t allow children to move rocks or other objects under which snakes or other poisonous creatures may be hiding.
Protect children from sunburn with widebrimmed hats, light long-sleeved clothing and sunscreen. Anyone burned by jellyfish should be treated with salt water or vinegar and not with drinking water.