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Summer must: Pay attention at the pool

Put simply, Mary Beth Voights doesn’t want to meet you when she’s working. Carle’s lead trauma services coordinator has been helping people of all ages with serious injuries for more than 25 years.

“Brushing up on summer safety can keep children out of the Emergency Department. Most injuries can be prevented, and we really do want everyone to have a safe and happy summer,” she said.

She shares these top five things which cause the most serious injuries—and even deaths—for kids of all ages.

  • Motor-vehicle incidents
  • Falls
  • Bike crashes
  • Water-related
  • Poisonings

Because drowning is the leading cause of death for little ones age 1 to 4 years, Voights stresses water safety every chance she gets.

“I tell people to never ever leave a child alone, even in very shallow water—like the bathtub. You have to give small children and their safety 100 percent of your attention in and around water,” Voights said.

She’s seen the reality of water dangers. And she doesn’t want you to see what she’s seen.

“One of the biggest shocks to people is that drowning can happen very quietly,” she said. “The splashing and thrashing from the movies just isn’t reality in many cases.

“Keep your eyes on your children, not just your ears.”

Here are steps you can take today to help save lives and prevent serious situations.

  • Install fencing with a lock around all pools.
  • Use a pool alarm, but never as a substitute for close attention.
  • Remove toys from the pool when not in use so kids aren’t tempted.
  • Don’t rely on flotation devices. Be there with your child at all times.
  • Remove ladders from above-ground pools when not in use.
  • Dump out all water from wading pools and buckets after each use.
  • Make sure neighbors, sitters and other visitor know your pool rules.