Editorial

New season, new hazards for kids with more free time

Friday, June 3, 2022

Some of us have a hard time remembering painful lessons until theyíre repeated.

You know, that first golf outing or trip to the beach. After a fun day in the sun, those scratch sheets remind us that we should have been more generous with the sun block, if we remembered to apply it at all.

Itís one thing to inflict sun damage on our own skin, but adults who are responsible for kids are another thing.

Thankfully, there are plenty of supervised summertime activities for kids who arenít in school, if one is willing to look for them, but there are way too many opportunities for trouble if parents, grandparents and other adults donít keep a sharp lookout.

For instance, the Nebraska Regional Poison Center typically receives more calls about bites, stings, plants and pesticides once the weather warms up.

Remove a bee stinger with a gentle scraping motion using a credit card or fingernail, and call 911 or visit an emergency room in case of a more serious bite or reaction.

Keep gasoline and other flammables out of reach in original containers.

Keep track of plants your young kids are around in case they decide to put one in their mouths, so you can tell the doctor what kind of poison they may have been exposed to.

Monitor your older childís online activities carefully, which is the point of Juneís Internet Safety Month. UScellular and other wireless providers offer guidelines on ďhealthy digital habits,Ē resources and accessories to keep track of kidsí online activities.

Swimming is an issue with the McCook municipal pool closed this summer, but that presents new hazards for kids who may be attracted to lakes or ponds.

The Department of Health and Human Services warns potential swimmers to look for posted signs or other advisories from local public health authorities. Donít go into water that smells bad, looks discolored, has foam, scum, algal mats or paint-like streaks on the surface, has dead fish or other animals washed up on its shore.

Keep kids and pets away from playing in or drinking scummy water.

If you or your pets go in water that may have a bloom, rinse yourself and your pets immediately with tap water, advises the DHHS. Do not allow pets to lick their fur until they have been rinsed.

Adults have to turn over more responsibility as kids grow up, of course, but can still play an important part in keeping young drivers safe on the roads.

Itís not a small task, according to AAA Nebraska, which says Memorial Day is the unofficial 100 deadliest days for teen drivers.

From 2011-2o2o, each year an average of 2,063 teen drivers are involved in fatal crashes, 31% or 642 of them during the 100 deadliest days. More than 7,124 people died in teen-related summertime crashes over that period, more than seven people a day each summer compared to six the rest of the year.

In Nebraska, an average of six teen drivers are involved in fatal crashes between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. Each year, 20 people are killed in teen-driver-related crashes, nearly a third in the 100 deadliest days. Sixty-five people have died in teen driver-related crashes in the past 10 summers, out of 203 total over the past 10 years.

AAA advises parents to talk to teens early and often about the dangers of driving with teen passengers, driving at night, not wearing a safety belt, speeding, distracted driving, drowsy driving and impaired driving.

And while theyíre at it, set a good example.

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