With summer in full swing, it’s easy to find people outside, enjoying the sun or trying to escape the heat. But with that comes safety.
On Wednesday, Connecticut Children’s staff along with state police and child advocates urged families to be more responsible this summer when boating, swimming, driving and celebrating the 4th of July. .
Whether in or out of the water, summer can be a dangerous time. Some first responders are even calling it “trauma season” because the heat combined with unsafe practices can put children at risk.
“I’m a pediatric emergency physician here at Connecticut Children’s, and we see a lot of summer injuries,” said Connecticut Children’s emergency physician Dr. Steven Rogers.
Rogers advises to keep your children hydrated and reminds everyone to never leave pets or children in the car, where temperatures can quickly reach dangerous levels.
He also warned families of the dangers of lawn mowers and drunk driving. Just days away from July 4, fireworks are another concern.
“Technically in Connecticut, anyone using or owning sparklers must be over the age of 16,” said Michael Dapkus, co-owner of Dapkus Fireworks in Durham.
In Connecticut, it is illegal for unlicensed, unprofessional persons to buy, use, possess, or sell fireworks. Sparklers and fountains (which produce sparks when lit) are legal but cannot be sold or used by anyone under the age of 16.
Dapkus operates the only licensed consumer fireworks dealer in the state and champions the safety of anyone handling fireworks.
“I have to tell parents again not to give their children candles. They burn at 1,800 degrees. Parents think candles are safe for children — they’re not,” Dapkus said.
Five-year-old Uriel Jeudy, from East Hartford, says he really likes summer ‘because it’s so hot and we can do some water activities’. Families like Jeudy can feel more comfortable at the beach now that lifeguards will be on duty at eight state parks for July 4.
The trend will continue through the summer after DEEP recruited 90 lifeguards, nearly filling a months-long staffing gap. But they advise families to also keep an eye on their children.
“Every 4th of July weekend, the highest number of rescues we see are unsupervised children in our swimming areas,” said Connecticut lifeguard coach Alex Rambadt.