There is an old song that asserts that living is easy in the summertime. Unfortunately, though, summer isn’t always the carefree season it’s portrayed to be. According to National Safety Council (NSC) statistics, more preventable accidental deaths occur in July and August than at any other time of year. The top five causes of death in the summertime are drownings, hot car asphyxiations, pedestrian accidents, disasters and gun-related fatalities.
- Drownings: With summer comes heat; and when temperatures rise, many people head to the water to cool off. In 2016, 656 people died from drowning in July alone while swimming or playing or falling into the water, according to the NSC. To stay safe in the water, follow some basic precautions: Never swim alone; swim in areas supervised by lifeguards; be realistic about your swimming abilities; and stay out of the water if you can’t swim. Always avoid drinking alcohol while in the water. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately one in five drowning victims are under the age of 14. Life vests, wearable alarms and pool alarms, pool drain covers, age-appropriate swimming lessons and, most importantly, careful adult supervision can prevent tragedy. Investing in CPR training can also help save a life.
- Hot car deaths: Every year, an average of 37 kids under the age of 15 die in hot cars. Sometimes tired, distracted parents forget that their young children are in the backseat. Tips to prevent hot car deaths include placing purses, wallets, cell phones and other essential items next to the child in the backseat and/or placing one of the child’s items in the front seat as a reminder that the child is in the car. A new app, called The Backseat app, uses alarms and cell phone messages to remind drivers a child is in the car. Even when the temperature seems relatively mild, car interiors can quickly heat up. Call 911 if you see a young child alone in a car.
- Pedestrian fatalities: Pedestrian deaths rise in late summer and steadily increase through the end of the year. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, pedestrians most often cause the accidents between them and motor vehicles. Alcohol impairment, wearing dark clothes at night, jaywalking and texting while walking can cause accidents. Quiet cars and poorly marked crosswalks are some of the other culprits. Increase the odds for staying safe while walking or jogging by not consuming alcohol—most pedestrian casualties involving alcohol occur because the pedestrian is impaired, not the driver—not using electronic gadgets and headphones, knowing traffic rules, walking on sidewalks and using well-marked crosswalks.
- Disaster deaths: While major disasters make headlines, they account for only a small number of preventable disaster deaths. In its statistics, the NSC defines disaster deaths as “preventable- injury events that result in five or more deaths.” Vehicle accidents were the No. 1 cause of fatalities, followed by fire, floods, excessive heat and hot air balloon crashes. Practicing safe driving, installing smoke detectors, staying hydrated and following evacuation orders during fires and floods can decrease the possibility of death in a disaster.
- Gun-related deaths: More than 2,600 people were killed by guns in July and August 2016, according to NSC statistics. Of those, 1% were preventable. To help prevent accidental shootings, get training to learn how to properly handle a gun. Proper storage of guns is key. Store guns unloaded in a locked cabinet. Keep ammunition stored separately.
If you have a question about a personal injury, or need the services of an accident attorney, the professionals at Kaplan Law are available for you to contact 24/7.