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Toledo, OH 43623

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Handling Common Summer Emergencies

separator Accident rates increase in the summer—heat stroke, water accidents, falls and cuts, yard work accidents, you name it. You know to call 9-1-1 when an emergency strikes, but sometimes, you can avoid that emergency by taking precautions beforehand. And if the accident happens anyway, be prepared to take action in those anxious moments before the ambulance arrives.

One thing that can always come in handy is CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation. All parents and caregivers should take this course. You can get training from a variety of sources. Ask your doctor or other healthcare provider to point you in the direction of a good CPR class.

Here are some common summer hazards, ways to prevent them, and what to do if they happen anyway.

Water safety: Children under 14 suffer 1,000 drownings every year. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a structured series of swimming lessons for children beginning at age 4. A Red Cross-sponsored course is a good choice: classes include 36 hours of training, and an average teacher-to-student ratio of 1:6. Other tips for parents of young children learning to swim:

  • Do not rely on water floatation devices for safety—they are strictly toys.
  • Be confident in your own abilities in the water before going in with a child.
  • Encourage children to test the water at their own pace—forcing can lead to fear.
  • Make sure kids know they should never swim alone.
  • Make sure they know they should never go into water they’re not familiar with.

If there is a water accident in your backyard, at the pool, or at the beach, what should you do? Call 9-1-1 right away, and immediately begin administering CPR.

A word about prom night: Prom nights are important rites of passage for teens—a way for them to say goodbye to high school friends and a lifestyle they’ve always known. With this change comes the urge to take risks, often through drinking, doing drugs, or having sex, as a way to mark this time in their life as special. Before prom night, parents and teens should talk together about their expectations for behavior on that night. Despite their professions of independence, most teens still listen and look to their parents for guidance and structure. Agree on specific rules, such as no drinking or riding in a car with others who have been drinking, and calling home at set times to check in. Help teens anticipate what might happen if they are offered drugs, or if friends get into trouble. Emphasize that it is a parent’s job to keep their children safe.

Power tools, new mowers, other accidents that cause extreme bleeding:First of all, anyone using new tools or mowers should read the instruction manual carefully and wear any protective gear that’s recommended, such as goggles, long pants, etc. That alone can help prevent accidents. But if an accident happens, and there is a lot of bleeding, what should you do?

Call 9-1-1 if the bleeding is severe. Remove any objects or debris from the wound. If there’s something stuck in the wound, such as a knife or an arrow, don’t remove it. Tape it to the skin to keep it secure. Apply pressure to the wound with a sterile bandage or clean cloth. If you don’t have anything like this available, use your hand. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, call 9-1-1.

Try to prevent the person from going into shock by keeping him or her warm. Make sure the injured body part is immobilized, and lay the person flat with the legs raised about 12 inches. Do not use this position if the person’s head, neck or back have been injured.

The American Red Cross; The National Institutes of Health; The National Safety Council.
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