People who work in emergency response and medicine know summer by another term: trauma season. That’s because the three months many of us look forward to the most are also the ones most likely to be full of injuries. During summertime, injuries due to trauma can double for children; cases of adult trauma often spike 25 to 30 percent. For all adults under the age of 45, traumatic injury is the No. 1 cause of death year-round.
Here is our list of the summer injuries of which you should be most aware.
Motor Vehicle Collisions
Trauma from car crashes doesn’t sound as if it should be especially prevalent during a particular season, but it is. People are more likely to engage in reckless behaviors and pay less attention when the weather is nice. Teens are especially at risk: teens new to driving are about three times more likely to crash as seasoned drivers during the summer.
We’ve said it before: Don’t speed. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t drive when tired. Don’t fall prey to distraction, whether it is a text on your smartphone or an especially beautiful summer view.
Falls are the one type of accident that can cause a greater number of trauma cases than motor vehicle collisions, which are generally at or near the top of the list. During the summer, adults can experience more falls from occupational injuries (if they generally work outdoors) and from chores around the home that involve ladders or heights.
Children, because of skateboards, jungle gyms, or simply running around outside, also suffer more falls during the summer. It is the biggest reason that kids end up in emergency departments.
Swimming Injuries and Drowning
Did you know that approximately 10 people drown every day in the U.S.? Drowning is one of the top causes of summer trauma for both adults and children, but kids are especially vulnerable. Five children receive ER care for non-fatal water submersion injuries for every child who becomes a drowning fatality statistic.
Some water-related injuries occur because of diving accidents, roughhousing, or other incidents. As much as 5 percent of all spinal cord traumas occur because of diving mishaps.
The most common type of boating accident occurs because of collisions with another boat or an object; most accidents involve motorboats. Drowning is fatal for the 85 percent of victims who aren’t wearing a life jacket. Operator inattention is the most common cause of boating accidents, followed by operator inexperience. Make sure you know South Carolina’s boating laws.
Each year, thousands of people flood ERs with dog bite injuries. Children are more likely to be bitten during the summer, to suffer from bites on their face, head, and neck, and to experience significant wound trauma.
South Carolina is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites and attacks. You can generally hold an owner liable for any unprovoked dog attack.
Bicycling, ATVs, Dirt Bikes, and Motorcycles
All of these vehicles can cause grave injury or death, and children often are the victims. For kids, bicycles and dirt bikes frequently mean arm and wrist fractures and head injuries. ATV accidents can turn deadly because of rollovers.
If a cyclist or motorcyclist is struck by a motor vehicle, much of the time the fault lies with negligence on the part of the person driving the car or SUV. For the health of your child (and yourself), always wear a helmet, even when not required to do so by law.
Mosquitoes and Ticks
One of the newest threats to our health is the alarming rise of serious diseases caused by mosquitoes and ticks. The risk goes far beyond Zika, West Nile, and Lyme diseases these days. In 2016, the CDC recorded 96,000 cases of 16 varieties of insect-borne illnesses. The real number is estimated to be much higher because some illnesses are difficult to diagnose. Twelve years earlier, the number of reported insect-borne illnesses was only 27,000. Some of the diseases can require sudden trips to seek emergency treatment, and some of them can be fatal.
Protect yourself and your family by using an effective bug repellent, preferably one containing DEET. However, children should not use repellents composed of more than 30 percent DEET.
Lawn Mower Mishaps
More than 80,000 persons visit their local ER each summer because of lawn mower trauma. Such injuries are largely preventable. Wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes when you mow, watch out for anything that could become a projectile, like rocks and sticks, and exercise caution when mowing on steep grades. Above all, don’t allow children to play near or on your mower.