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Preventing Child Injury Goal of NHTSA Awareness Campaign

Memories of summer in childhood should be recalled with fondness – splashing by the pool, road trip vacations and long, lazy afternoons.
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However, parents and caregivers must take note: Summer is also a time when hazards abound. Our Fort Myers child injury lawyers have seen cases here in Southwest Florida in which children have suffered from heatstroke. Tragedy on the roadways has occurred when children weren’t properly belted into a car seat or they encountered fatigued or drunken drivers. While on bicycles, children have serious suffered injuries after being struck by a vehicle. Children left unsupervised by the pool have drowned, and others injured by fireworks or defective products.

While it’s true that injuries to children can occur at any point in the year, summer carries its own unique challenges, and it’s important for parents to become educated. That’s why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched a campaign to encourage awareness of potential injuries children may suffer in summer.

The campaign has five primary focuses: Heatstroke, pedestrian safety, bicycle safety, helmet safety and driver safety.

Driver safety is a year-round priority. However in summer, families are more likely to be taking longer trips, and teens are more likely to be on the road. An influx of more drivers traveling longer distances and the addition of a higher number of novice drivers means crashes are more apt to occur.

Recently in Fort Myers, NBC-2 reported four people, including three children, were injured in a rollover crash on Cleveland Avenue when a car pulled out suddenly in front of a Jeep carrying the children. The Jeep driver swerved to avoid a collision, hit the curb and flipped. Two boys and one girl were transported by ambulance to the hospital.

The NHTSA recommends children always ride in the back seat, secured in a child seat that is properly installed and is appropriate for the child’s height and weight. Additionally, motorists are encouraged to exercise extra caution in neighborhoods heavily populated by children, and always pay attention, particularly near intersections and crosswalks.

Children are more apt in the summer to be playing outside and riding bicycles during the day, which is why it is especially important for drivers to be alert to the possibility of them darting out unexpectedly. Parents can help ensure children are safe by teaching them the rules of the road. Instruct them to walk, rather than run across streets; to always look left-right-left for vehicles; and to never cross if a vehicle is coming. An adult or older, responsible child should always accompany children when crossing the street or walking near a road. Teach them the dangers of running out from behind parked vehicles and have them hold an adult’s hand anytime they are in a parking lot.

For children on bicycles, parents should ensure properly-fitted helmets are always worn. While adult bicyclists should ride on the road, child cyclists should stick to sidewalks or bike paths and avoid using cell phones or headphones when riding.

When playing outside for extended periods of time, caregivers should make sure children have ample hydration. Additionally, parents and caregivers should always check their vehicles before locking them to make sure no child is left inside accidentally.

It is our hope that all the children in Southwest Florida will enjoy a safe and happy summer.

Call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.

Additional Resources:
Focus on Summer Safety for Kids, NHTSA reminds parents, caregivers, kids & drivers to think safe, ride safe, be safe! June 25, 2014, Press Release, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
More Blog Entries:
Southwest Florida Traffic Safety: Child Car Seats in Focus, Oct. 4, 2014, Fort Myers Child Injury Lawyer Blog