SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – With summer around the corner and school winding down, children will soon be turning their attention to the outdoors.
But with that comes the risk of danger.
According to Memorial Health’s Safe Kids Savannah program, during the summer, children are increasingly prone to pedestrian and water-related accidents.
“For young kids, I don’t think they realize some of the dangers that lie ahead in their curiosity,” says Kristen King, manager at the Child Life Department at Memorial Health.
Those who work with the program say they generally stem from not only a lack of supervision but a lack of prior conversations with children.
They say educational conversations need to happen before hitting the sidewalk or the pool.
If they are not in a stroller, parents should talk to their children about taking their earbuds out before crossing the street, looking both ways and looking for distracted drivers.
Furthermore, it’s not just education that’s important, but positive reinforcement.
“So telling them what a great job they do when they are able to remember those steps, and pointing out distracted drivers. I do that a lot when we’re crossing,” says King.
Then there are water dangers, which are especially common in our area considering the many water sources such as beaches, lakes and pools.
Safe Kids Savannah’s coalition coordinator Jenna Morris says that most drowning-related deaths occur from May to August each year, with the most affected age ranges being from 1-4 and 15-19.
She says most of these are attributed to inadequate water training, and that children need to master five essential skills before hitting the water.
“They need to propel themselves forward in the water, need to be able to get out of the water or pool on their own, can tread water for a period of time, can float on their back, and that they’re just really comfortable being around the water,” says Morris.
Safe Kids Savannah operates year-round, and they will be offering various water and pedestrian safety programs throughout the summer.