President’s Perspective - Summer Safety

For many, summer means fun outdoors. With the kids out of school and adults on summer holidays, you know outdoor activities like skateboarding and bike riding is upon us. Summer is also the time of year people are most likely to be injured. Hospital emergency room visits, due to product-related injuries, occur more frequently in June, July and August rather than January to March. Everyone can enjoy summer activities and avoid injuries, if they keep safety in mind.

I see people failing to do things that result in completely preventable injuries. One of the best ways to stay safe this summer is to wear a helmet and other safety gear when biking, rollerblading, skateboarding and when riding scooters, all-terrain vehicles (ATV’s) or any other wheeled recreational vehicle.

Give serious safety consideration before purchasing a trampoline. You must be willing to supervise children at all times. To prevent injuries while using a trampoline, allow only one person on at a time, and do not allow activities that will cause the person to “travel” or move too close to the edge. Use a pad that completely covers the springs and place the trampoline away from structures and other play areas. I would not let anyone under the age of six use a full-size trampoline.

Make sure your home playground is safe. Falls cause a lot of playground injuries, so having a safe surface is critical. Concrete, asphalt or packed dirt surfaces are too hard. Follow the Canadian Standards Association guidelines.

To prevent a swimming pool tragedy use layered protection. This includes closely supervising your child and being prepared in case of an emergency, placing barriers completely around your pool to prevent access, using well-positioned door locks and preventing access to the area if not supervised. Every year we hear of little ones drowning, and it can be prevented.

When cooking with a gas barbeque, check the burner for any blockage from insects, spiders, or grease. Check gas hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes, and leaks. If you ever detect a leak, immediately turn off the gas at the tank (or house) and don’t attempt to light the barbeque until the leak is fixed.

Install window guards to prevent children from falling out. They should be installed in children’s bedrooms, parents’ bedrooms, and other rooms where young children spend time. Or, install window stops that permit windows to open no more than 10 centimetres. Whenever possible, open windows from the top, not the bottom. Also, keep furniture away from windows to discourage children from climbing near them.

Summer also means working around the yard. When mowing, keep small children away from the area of work, and turn the lawnmower off if children enter the area. If the lawn slopes, mow across the slope with the walk-behind mower, never up and down. With a lawn tractor or riding lawnmower, drive up and down the slope, not across it. Never carry children on a riding mower.

The Health Canada Consumer Product Safety web site has a wealth of information, contacts to report unsafe products and much more. You can view it at www.hc-sc.gc.ca.
From my perspective a lot of the injuries and tragedy associated with summer activities can be prevented.

Safety, It’s an Attitude

Jack Smith, President