Protect Yourself Against Summer Injury Dangers
Summertime is time for fun and relaxation. But dangers can lurk around every swimming pool, campsite and barbeque. Emergency room admissions rise each summer for everything from motor vehicle accidents to fireworks accidents to sports-related injuries.
Many summertime injuries do not have to occur. Take time to protect yourself and your family so you can enjoy the season and all it has to offer.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Summertime is vacation time and now more than ever that means a road trip. The more vehicles on the road, the greater the potential for traffic accidents and injuries. With school out of session, more young, inexperienced drivers are behind the wheel, adding to the risk of accidents. Highway construction projects add to the risk. In addition, there are more bicyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists out and about, all presenting potential dangers for drivers.
Focus on Your Driving and Review Your Insurance Coverage
If you are driving, be aware of those around you, turn off the cell phone and focus on the road. Keep an eye out for motorcyclists, bikers and pedestrians. Summer is a good time to review your auto insurance to make sure you have full tort as well as uninsured and underinsured coverages. This type of coverage protects you even if you are hit by an uninsured, underinsured or a hit-and-run driver or if you are injured while riding as a passenger in an uninsured or underinsured driver’s vehicle.
Helmets Save Lives
If you are riding a bike or motorcycle, be sure to wear a proper helmet. Head and brain injuries are a common result of bike and motorcycle accidents.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that helmets saved 1,784 motorcyclists lives in 2007, and that 800 more could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.
Water Sports Accidents
For many of us, summer means water sports. Swimming, diving, sailing, boating, kayaking and waterskiing can all spell danger as well as summertime fun.
During 2007, there were 5,191 boating accidents reported to the Coast Guard; 4116 (79 percent) of them occurred between May and September. Operator inattention, careless or reckless operation, passenger or skier behavior, excessive speed and alcohol use were the top factors contributing to boating accidents in 2007, according U.S. Coast Guard statistics.
Make sure you and your family members wear personal flotation devices while boating and take other safety precautions as well. Don’t drink and operate a boat. Make sure your craft is in good operating condition and has proper safety features, including lights. Always have a lookout when towing skiers or tubers.
Swimming and Diving Dangers
Lifeguards are being eliminated from many public pools and beaches as governments trim their budgets. This means it is even more important to take precautions parents and swimmers must take extra care to be safe.
Private pools and beaches demand the same level of care on behalf of both property owners and guests. If you own a backyard pool, it is extremely important to take measures to protect others from injury. Because a swimming pool is an “attractive nuisance,” you may be held liable for injuries sustained by people who used the pool without your permission. Proper fencing, locks and pool covers can help physical injuries and financial liability.
Never dive into a body of water without knowing the depths that you are getting into. Diving into shallow water can result in a spinal cord injury that can leave you permanently paralyzed.
It wouldn’t be summer without Fourth of July fireworks. Unfortunately, fireworks accidents are as predictable as ants at a picnic. The National Safety Council reports that, in 2005, an estimated 10,800 people were treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries, nearly half of whom were under 15 years old.
Injuries are not limited to large fireworks with a massive explosive potential. About a third of the injuries were from small firecrackers, 21 percent from bottle rockets and 20 percent from sparklers.
Unintentional injuries are the bane of do-it-yourselfers. From lawnmower accidents to falls from ladders to power tool mishaps, these accidents can cause permanent disability and death.
The American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons reported approximately 210,000 lawn-mower related injuries in 2007. Electrical injuries results in an estimated 1000 deaths per year and about 3000 admissions to specialized burn centers, according to Dr. Brian James Daley, MD, of the University of Tennessee School of Medicine. Falls from ladders, roofs, scaffolds cause thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths annually.
Most of these injuries could have been prevented if more care had been taken by a property owner, a product manufacturer or by the accident victim himself or herself.
Don’t become a statistic this summer. Take time out for safety along with summertime fun.