Misaskim Summer Safety Message
June 26, 2012
Summer is upon us, and although Misaskim is not publishing a summer safety booklet this year (keep an eye out for our back to school issue instead), there are several safety messages that we would like to bring to everyone's attention. Youngsters are now out of school, outdoors much more, and less supervised. This leads to an increased risk of a long list of injuries and potential dangers that include, but are not limited to, drowning, head injuries, and skin infections resulting from bug bites or poison ivy. The best preventative measure without a doubt is competent adult supervision. The following tips will go a long way toward limiting accidental injuries.

Water Safety: Probably the best way to stress the importance of supervision at the pool comes from the following story that occurred just a few days ago: On Thursday, June 21st, a family in Lakewood rented a pool to offer their young children a reprieve from the brutal heat that hit the tri-state region last week. There were three adults at the pool keeping an eye on the children in the shallow water. Three-year-old Sruly was playing with a pail at the side of the pool and he wanted to fill his pail with water. So he trotted off toward the deep end of the pool and bent over to dip his pail in. None of the adults were aware that he had wandered to the deep end, as they were all focused on watching the children in the shallow water. Nobody knows exactly how it happened, but Sruly fell into the pool.

Sruly's young cousin noticed something on the bottom of the pool and curiously asked another child, "What's that at the bottom of the pool?" Not knowing the answer, the youngster in turn, asked an older cousin what the "that big thing" at the bottom of the water could be. The cousin immediately recognized her little brother and screamed for help.

All the adults were in the shallow water, facing away from the deep end where Sruly lay. One of the women quickly swam to him, but her first attempt to lift him out of the water was unsuccessful. Her second attempt was BH successful. B"H, miraculously, Sruly was still fully alert and conscious. He was able to cough up water and responded to his mother right away. Hatzolah was contacted and they too were amazed that the child was perfectly fine.

Once the shock of this terrifying episode finally wore off, the family contacted Misaskim. "Please," they urged, "alert the community to the fact that R"L, a child can drown very quickly and very easily before you realize what is happening."Here are some pointers they shared with us:

1. Always make sure that an adult is supervising in the pool area, outside the pool itself.

2. Pool owners have the responsibility to post Hatzolah's phone number and the address of the pool in the pool area. During these emergencies, most bystanders are too bewildered to remember the address and are consequently unable to direct Hatzolah correctly.

3. Pool owners: please do not rent out your pool before making sure that there is a working phone line at the poolside. Often there is no cell phone reception in the area and no access to emergency services should C"V something occur.

4. Children playing in the pool area must wear hand tubes at all time.

Wheeled Activities:
1. Make sure your child is wearing a helmet that is approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or meets the Snell helmet safety standards. This will ensure that it is crash-resistant.

2. Purchase a helmet at a bicycle shop and have it fitted to your child's head. It must fit snugly, go over the forehead and cover the back of the head.

3. If a helmet is dented or cracked, get a new one.

4. Make sure your child is wearing additional protective gear for activities that require special equipment. An example would be: knee and elbow pads and wrist guards for skateboarding.

5. Remind children to be extra careful as they approach driveways.

6. In order to be able to ride in the street, children must be older than 10.

7. Always know where your child is going, and make sure he or she is not too far from home.

1. Make sure you child is supervised while on the playground.

2. Don't allow your child to play on broken equipment. Report it immediately.

3. Home swing sets can be especially dangerous. Make sure there are no strangulation hazards.

4. Playground equipment should be no higher than 5-6 feet off the ground.

5. Keep your children away from metal slides on hot summer days. A metal slide can reach up to 120 -150 degrees Fahrenheit if it is in direct sunlight. A child may receive a 3rd degree burn after only five seconds of contact with a hot slide.

6. Most important, be sure to remind children not to accept gifts or rides from anyone without parental permission.

7. Be wary, supervise your children, and be aware of any potential consequences that could occur as a result of your child's activity. From toddlers to teens, all youngsters need careful supervision.

Car Safety:
1. Make sure that children are never left alone in the car, even for a minute.

2. Be sure to turn off the ignition and keep car doors locked at all times. In this way children cannot get into the car and accidentally set it in motion.

3. Make sure your gas tank is full. Check your tires and windshield wipers to be sure that they're working before embarking on a long-distance trip.

4. ... and finally, don't forget to say Tefillas Haderech.

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