blog home Child Safety Were the “good old days” really better for kids?

Were the “good old days” really better for kids?

By Ken Gibson on July 26, 2017

Helpful tips to keep your children safer this summer while still having fun

It’s popular now on social media to miss the 1970s (or further back) when many children (including us!) ran wild all summer long. It’s true that, back then, we didn’t wear helmets or seat belts, and we had less adult supervision.

But the reality is that the mortality rate for children was much higher in the 1970s than it is today. In fact, between 1960 and 1990, the child mortality rate dropped by 48 percent!

Although many of us were running wild at the time, the 1970s also brought us the U.S. consumer protection movement. Legislators and law enforcement officers swung into action to protect children by passing and enforcing better safety laws.

And it has made a difference. Even since the late 1990s, the death rate among children has been reduced significantly, mostly due to a sharp decrease in accidents and to communities paying more attention to potential dangers. For example, from 1999 to 2011, the mortality rate for U.S. young people ages 1–19 years declined by more than 25 percent.

But even with that huge improvement, unintentional injury is still the leading cause of death for children and teens.

We at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys want to help all kids be safer this summer. We recommend following these tips, along with making sure kids are properly supervised. We’ve found these to be the best ways to prevent many accidents.

Make sure kids wear a helmet when riding bicycles, skateboards, etc.

During the summer, kids are riding bicycles, skateboards, and scooters, or rollerblading and doing other activities which can easily lead to head injuries. So always have children wear helmets.

Make sure their helmets fit properly too, and mark the helmets so that each child can easily identify his own. Finally, store them in an easy-to-grab spot for kids.

Protect children’s skin with plenty of sunscreen.

Children are more susceptible to sunburns than adults, especially children with fair skin and freckles. More than one million people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year, and children who have significant sun exposure are more likely to develop skin cancer as adults.

Sunscreens rated SPF 15 or higher are the most effective, and you should reapply them every two hours. Reapply more often if children are swimming or perspiring a lot. Many products come in a spray form that is easy to apply, and also fun for kids. Our family likes the sunblock sticks, especially for faces.

Make sure children follow water safety rules.

Water-related activities can be dangerous for children. Slipping and horseplay can quickly lead to serious injuries, and drowning can and does happen, even to experienced swimmers.

Here are our top safety tips for the pool, river, and beach:

  • Closely watch your children at all times, even if a lifeguard is present.
  • Do not allow anyone to swim alone, no matter how old they are.
  • Have children who are not strong swimmers remain in shallow water, unless an adult is within reach.
  • Recognize that even experienced swimmers can easily get into trouble, due to a strong current, a bump on the head, or other unforeseen circumstances.
  • Make sure everyone is careful when diving, particularly if the water is not clear. Cloudy water can have rocks or other objects just below the surface, which can cause life-changing injuries.

Be careful in cars.

Car crashes are the No. 1 killer of children over the age of 3 every year in the United States. Because of that, child safety seat laws are increasingly being enforced in Eastern Virginia. The Commonwealth now requires the following:

  • Rear-facing seats in the back seat for babies until age 2.
  • Forward-facing car seats in the back seat for children older than age 2.
  • Belt-positioning booster seats for school-age children until regular seat belts fit properly.
  • Kids big enough for regular seat belts must remain in the back seat until age 13.

Also, never leave children in unattended vehicles, even for a few minutes. In the summer, a car’s interior temperature can become extremely hot very quickly. Many tragic cases happen each year in which small children die while left in vehicles. Since 1998, more than 700 U.S. children have died from vehicle-related heat stroke. It’s horrible to think about, but it happens.

Need an accident lawyer in Gloucester?

Even one child getting seriously injured this summer is one too many. As parents and Gloucester County personal injury lawyers, we take child safety very seriously.

We help children and parents throughout Eastern Virginia get compensated for accidents that weren’t their fault. If your child has been hurt due to circumstances beyond your control, we can help. Talk to us to find out your options.

Call us today at (804) 413-6777 for a free consultation. And remember, we do not get paid unless we get money for you.

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Community service

Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.

  • Safety Education
    GibsonSingleton launches a “Texts=Wrecks” campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers.
  • Annual Coat Drive
    During the fall, our team works to distribute coats to people in need in our community.
  • Hands-on Service
    John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
  • Supporting Local Schools
    The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.