President's Perspective

With the summer in full swing, children have a whole myriad of options when it comes to entertaining themselves. It’s important to remind ourselves that proper safety measures need to be taken to reduce the risks of injuries during this time of year.

Children around water poses a unique risk that can be mitigated with proper safety measures. Incidents of children drowning occur alarmingly too often, but these deaths are easily preventable. A slip or misstep was the catalyst for their falling into a pool or body of water. Parents should install a fence that encloses all four sides of a swimming pool. This will greatly reduce the odds of a child accidentally falling into a pool. Check with your local municipality, as enclosing a pool is often required by law. Organize pool time so that there will be as few distractions as possible. Additionally, I would like to remind parents that they should never leave their child unattended while they are in or near any body of water. Drowning can occur in a few short seconds, meaning that all it takes is a momentary lapse of attention for a tragedy to occur. Parents need to be vigilant in keeping an eye on their child at all times.

During the summer, open windows and balconies can be dangerous places for young children, who may not yet understand the risks of falling out of a window or off a balcony. The responsibility must fall on parents to limit the chances of a child getting severely injured or killed due to a lack of supervision.

A misconception I hear often is that window screens are viewed as a method for preventing falls. This is false. A screen can easily give way under a child’s weight. A preferable alternative would be to install window stops, which are barriers put in front of windows to block them from opening more than 10 cm. Consideration should also be given to keeping furniture away from windows or balcony railings Also, don’t provide reasons to be standing near the edge. Reduce the chance of a child wanting to stand near the edge by not placing toys or other temptations there.

Another important part of the summer months, in terms of household maintenance, is mowing the lawn. Both ride-on mowers and walk-behind mowers present some safety concerns for children that can and should be avoided. Historically, a significant portion of mower-related injuries have occurred to children under 16. I urge you to take this information into consideration and do not let any child under 16 operate a ride-on mower. Walk-behind mowers tend to be slightly easier to manoeuvre, but no child under 12 should be operating one. Also, don’t place a toddler in jeopardy by placing them on your lap to ride along with you when mowing the lawn.

Every summer, I see injuries occur that are easily avoided if the proper safety procedures were followed. Implementing a few safety precautions will help keep kids safe and summer as incident-free and pleasant as possible.

Safety, It’s an Attitude!

Jack Smith, President