Taking Simple Precautions Can Keep Children Safe Near the Water, in Hot Cars and Playing Outside
In Light of COVID-19, New Yorkers Should Continue to Follow All Necessary Health Guidance Throughout the Summer to Ensure Everyone’s Safety
The New York State Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) today offered New Yorkers tips to keep children safe this summer season. Summer is the ideal time for children to get outside to play, and it’s important for New Yorkers to take simple precautions to keep kids safe. All summer outdoors activities must follow all applicable state guidance and take place in accordance with the state’s phased-in, regional reopening plan as detailed in the NY Forward website.
“Summer is prime time for our children to get outside, have some fun and play, particularly this year after a prolonged period of being cooped up due to COVID-19,” said Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, who oversees the New York State Division of Consumer Protection. “To ensure that these outdoor activities remain fun for all, I encourage New Yorkers to follow basic tips to help keep our kids safe when enjoying their summer.”
Water Safety Tips
Being near water is a summer past-time, but drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children between ages 1 and 4. Keep these tips in mind while having fun in the water:
- An adult should always supervise young children when in or around water.
- Adult water watchers must be vigilant and undistracted in their duties. Stay off electronic devices!
- Teach essential swimming skills: floating, breathing techniques and treading water.
- Install a four-sided isolation fence around home pools with self-closing and self-latching gates. The fence should separate the house and the pool area.
- Always use life jackets around natural bodies of water even if you know how to swim.
Safety Tips for Children and Pets in Hot Cars
There is a real and severe danger of leaving children or pets in hot cars, the caregiver could be culpable under child endangerment laws. Sadly, 857 children have died nationwide due to Pediatric Vehicular Heatstroke (PVH) since 1998. Ten of these were in New York State. Follow these tips to prevent additional tragedies:
- Never leave a child in an unattended vehicle in the warm weather, not even with the windows slightly open or down, due to the risk of heatstroke (hyperthermia).
- If you see a child in a hot car, call 911 right away and follow instructions. Emergency personnel are trained to respond.
- Teach children not to play in or around vehicles and to alert an adult when a friend is playing in a vehicle without supervision. Make sure children understand the dangers of trunk entrapment (suffocation, heatstroke, etc.).
- Place a stuffed toy in your child’s car seat when not in use and move the toy to the front passenger seat when your child is in his/her car seat as a reminder that your child is in the vehicle.
- When driving with a child in a vehicle, use drive-through services whenever possible.
Outside Play Safety Tips
Playing outdoors is fun and healthy for children. However, some basic rules can make this activity safe and enjoyable. Keep these basic tips in mind:
- When riding a bike, skateboard or scooter, wearing the proper helmet can significantly reduce the risk of head injury in the event of a fall.
- Make sure the helmet fits and has a chin strap and buckle that will stay securely fastened during impact.
- When buying a bike helmet, look for the label that reads: “Complies with U.S. CPSC Safety Standards for Bicycle Helmet.”
- Regularly check your helmet for cracks or degradation, and replace the helmet after it’s been in a crash. Additionally, select a safe riding area for children, away from roads and cars.
- Adults should always supervise kids and set ground rules: only one jumper at a time, and no somersaults, because landing on the head or neck can cause paralysis.
- Make sure your trampoline has shock-absorbing pads that completely cover its springs, hooks and the frame of the structure.
- Place the trampoline away from trees, and make sure it has a net enclosure to help prevent injuries from falls.
- Avoid burns from hot playground equipment by touching the plastic or metal surfaces yourself before kids begin playing.
- To prevent strangulation, never attach jump ropes or pet leashes to equipment, and make sure that there are no drawstrings on children’s clothing.
- Surfaces underneath and around playgrounds should have a 9- to 12-inch deep layer of wood chips, mulch, sand, pea gravel or mats made of safety-tested rubber to help protect kids if they fall.
The New York State Division of Consumer Protection serves to educate, assist and empower the State’s consumers. For more consumer protection information, call the Consumer Helpline at 800-697-1220, Monday through Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm. Consumer complaints can be filed anytime online at the Division website, www.dos.ny.gov/consumerprotection. Follow the Division at @NYSConsumer or www.facebook.com/nysconsumer.