Summer fun can also be dangerous. Triad experts share stories and advice on the dangers of summer. | Local

GREENSBORO — Of course, children should be outdoors and accidents happen under the best of circumstances, but many are preventable.

Accidents may not happen every time a child rides a mountain bike or rides a bike without a helmet, but they do happen, said Leigha Jordan of Safe Kids Guilford, a local injury prevention coalition.

“We often hear that – ‘This never happened to me’ or ‘You never heard of this when I was a kid,'” Jordan told News & Record in 2015. “But the reason why we want to get these messages across it’s because we see these cases coming through our emergency services.”

Over the years, we’ve asked emergency doctors and safety experts to tell us their stories about the dangers of summer.

Doctors attribute most injuries to negligence.

Here are safety stories experts have shared with News & Record over the years to consider this 4th of July:

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As a general rule, novelty firecrackers that do not explode, leave the ground, or fly through the air are legal in North Carolina. This would include sparklers, which produce colored flames. But that doesn’t mean kids have to handle them or be around when adults handle them.

People tend to think they are safe since they are allowed.

“I was a resident in Philadelphia in the emergency department, and a 5-year-old child was brought in because he picked up an M-80 (firecracker) and it exploded in his hand,” said pediatrician Dr. Rob Poth. the News & Record in 2015. “He had practically blown his hand.”

Poth said he knows it’s not just children who come across a stash of firecrackers unbeknownst to their parents who are handling firecrackers, as photos circulating on social media and in newspapers often show smiling youngsters holding sparklers with adults nearby.

He said we also send children a mixed message.

“At all other times we would tell them to stay away from the fire, it’s dangerous,” he said. “Handing them a sparkler or a lit wand, or whatever you want to call it, doesn’t make much difference.

Parents let their guard down too often, said Ernest Grant, a former outreach clinician at UNC Hospitals Chapel Hill’s Jaycee Burn Center. He said he knew this was the case due to the age of patients injured by firecrackers.

The sparklers, which produce colorful flames, burn up to 1,000 degrees or more – “As hot as a blowtorch,” Grant said.

“A few years ago we had someone who was a bridesmaid at a beach wedding and instead of walking with flowers, they were walking with sparklers,” Grant said in 2018, “and the sparkler set fire to her robe.”


A child can drown in a few inches of water in the bathtub, a wading pool or even a bucket of water in two minutes or less.

Basic rule when swimming: if the child does not know how to swim, he must always be within reach. If they can swim, they must be supervised.

Pediatrician Dr Ross Kuhner shared the story of a drowning victim with the News & Record in 2015.

“The child escaped from parental supervision and wandered off to the lake and either fell into the water or fell into the water and drowned,” said Kuhner, who is now a director. Medical from the Children’s Emergency Department at Cone Health. “It (the water) wasn’t very deep, but it didn’t require much.”

It’s also important to know what drowning might look like, experts said.

“People who drown don’t always look like what you might expect,” said Dr James O’Neill, a pediatric emergency medicine specialist at Brenner Children’s Hospital.

They may not have the energy to splash around enough to get anyone’s attention or be able to call for help because they may not have enough energy. oxygen in their lungs, he told the News & Record in 2015.

Security equipment

Another summer hazard comes from popular pastimes such as riding a bicycle, scooter, mountain bike or skateboard without a helmet or padding. Children shouldn’t be allowed to ride ATVs either, experts warn.

Sometimes parents just don’t know their child can ride an ATV. Luly Beckles, Pediatric Injury Prevention Coordinator at Brenner and Safe Kids Northwest Piedmont, shared the story last year of a child who rode an ATV at a friend’s house. The vehicle sank and the child died.

“No one wanted this to happen, but this conversation lets that parent know that you don’t want your child on an ATV,” Beckles said.

About 650 people are killed each year in ATV crashes in the United States, and one-third are under the age of 16. North Carolina had 39 reported deaths from 2017 to 2018, according to the state’s office of the fire marshal.

North Carolina allows children 8 and older to ride age-appropriate ATVs with supervision.

Dr. Michael Mitchell, a pediatrician in the emergency department at Brenner Children’s Hospital, part of Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, recalls a child under the age of 6 riding an ATV with an even younger passenger. The two ended up in the emergency room.

Handling an ATV involves a lot of complex decision-making — when to stop, when to slow down, when to speed up, Mitchell said of motorized vehicle maneuvering and reacting to conditions.

“Kids are less aware of consequences, they’re easily distracted, and these things are really powerful,” Mitchell said in 2018.

Medical personnel see broken bones and worse when drivers hit a tree or fall into a ditch, including burns from carburetor contact.

With bikes, scooters and skateboards, many accidents will happen as close as the driveway, Kuhner said.

“A 10-year-old child was riding a bicycle (without a helmet) and suffered a fractured skull and bleeding around the brain,” Kuhner said. “A helmet would have prevented that from happening.”

Seatbelts could prevent countless young car accident victims from being transported to hospital emergency rooms each year, said Dr. Philip Neustadt, a former emergency physician at Wesley Long Hospital.

“Seatbelts save lives, seatbelts prevent injuries, seatbelts are very important – and we can’t say it enough,” Neustadt said in 2001.

Pediatric patients have also lost limbs by falling from lawn mowers. Surgeons don’t want to see kids on lawnmowers, even if they’re riding on Grandpa’s lap.

“It’s really, really essential that people understand that these types of injuries are preventable,” pediatrician Robert Latvian said in 2001.

Children left in cars

For parents tempted to pull over and leave their kids in the car with cracked windows: don’t.

A car’s windows act like a greenhouse, trapping sunlight and heat, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

And for adults transporting children, have a plan to ensure all children are accommodated at destination or before locking them up. If a child rides in the back seat of a car, use a reminder system – perhaps one of that child’s toys sitting on a purse or cell phone in the front seat.

“I can see them,” Kuhner said of his experiences with these children accidentally left in vehicles. “The only thing you can say is you can’t leave a child in a car for a while.”

Contact Nancy McLaughlin at 336-373-7049 and follow @nmclaughlinNR on Twitter.

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