Though summer won’t officially be over until September 23, we’re only weeks away from the start of the school year. (Or, in the case of the poor children of Alhambra, only days away. YUCK!) The end of summer is both a sad and joyous time. On the one hand, you have freedom. But on the other hand you get to buy 18 new Lisa Frank folders for all your new classes. Yeet!
This is the final post in our inaugural Summer Safety Series. Alas, we hardly knew thee.
Let’s kick off our retrospective post with a crossover!
A Hot (Recall) Tip for Your Family
It’s fitting that our first and last posts should overlap so thoroughly. In Hot Tips for Your Family, Part 1 we took a look at a trio of important safety topics, including the dangers of trampolines. Since our post last week about summer recalls, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that the company Super Jumper was recalling 23,000 trampolines following 97 reports of the welds on the metal railings (where the legs attach) failing, resulting in 4 instances of minor injuries. The models affected are “14-foot trampolines, and 14-foot and 16-foot combo trampolines with enclosures sold without reinforcement clamps.” Consumers should stop using the trampolines immediately and contact Super Jumper for a repair kit.
Heatstroke: A Cautionary Tale From The Limits Of Human Endurance
Three weeks ago an Arkansas heat wave claimed the life of someone who, at 32 years old, was probably fitter than most of us combined. He was Mitch Petrus, a former offensive lineman for the New York Giants. He later went to play for the Patriots and Titans, before retiring in 2013. On the day he died, he’d been working outside his family shop. The heat index in the area was over 100 degrees.
Heatstroke is something that could happen to any one of us. All it takes is one instance of not paying attention to the warning signs — of pushing ourselves past our limits. We’ve all had a family member or friend who was known for their can-do attitude. Perhaps you’ve watched them continue pounding away at a particular task in a way that clearly put their health at risk. It’s scary to watch that happen, and there are certainly times when work ethic can be a good thing — but there are also times when it can be our downfall. In those moments, the task at hand becomes an obsession. We have to remember to slow down. We have to remind ourselves that heatstroke can happen to us. Whatever you are doing that’s keeping you outside in the heat… is it really worth your life? Probably not.
In June, Outside magazine published a story entitled “What It Feels Like to Die from Heat Stroke.” It takes the signs and symptoms, and frames them in a way that you, the reader, are experiencing them. We think it’s a cautionary tale that everyone should read.
Six Days, Five Lives
This is one of those sentences we desperately wished we didn’t have to write. In the first six days of August, five children died in hot cars. This brings the total number of pediatric hot car deaths to 29 so far this year. All but one of the children were age 4 and below. The one outlier was a 13 year old disabled girl who, according to police reports, was deliberately left in a car outside her family’s residence. Every single one of these deaths was preventable, and it’s heartbreaking knowing that the number of deaths will only continue to rise.
Illegal Fireworks Spark Big Busts
In the lead up to the 4th of July, several fire departments from throughout the Inland Empire teamed up to curb the flow of illegal fireworks across state lines. The interdiction operation targeted a number of spots throughout San Bernardino county, including I-95 coming in from Nevada, which is considered to be one of the key entry points for prohibited commodities like fireworks. In total, the task force confiscated more than 60,000 pounds of illegal fireworks found during vehicle searches and issued 73 citations.
Under California law nearly all types of fireworks are considered illegal. The only exception to the rule are the so-called “safe and sane” fireworks, but even those are often outlawed by local ordinances. Few places in the Los Angeles and Ventura county areas allow fireworks of even the safe and sane variety, and for good reason: fireworks can easily spark wildfires. And even without the risk of turning one’s neighborhood into a raging inferno, the risk to human life (and limb) doesn’t make it worth it.
The success of the task force brings confidence that more children won’t potentially lose a hand to an exploding firework, but one “entry point” that the interdiction operations cannot combat against is the home. Homemade fireworks are a thing, sadly, and the dangers with them are even greater. A 10 year old boy was playing outside his Compton apartment on his birthday when he heard someone call his name. When he turned he saw something flying through the air, and like any boy would do, reflexively reached out to catch it. It was only then that he saw, as the fuse burnt down, that his 27-year-old neighbor had thrown a homemade firework out of his window.
This “prank,” as some outlets have called it, was anything but. It was the worst birthday present Aaron Carreto could have asked for. He lost most of his left hand, and a finger on his right, and has already undergone four different surgeries so far. Doctors are currently trying to determine how best to reconstruct his left hand.
Surviving Summer Should Not Be Hard
…but sometimes, it is. This was the final post in our inaugural Summer Safety Series, and we hope you found it interesting and informative. There’s a lot to think about, safety wise, when the summer months roll into town. Luckily, though, school will start back up again soon. (Not to be deterred: a new school year comes with safety challenges all unto its own.)
More on that later.
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Check Out These References for Further Reading:
“Super Jumper trampolines recalled for ‘posing fall and injury hazards’.” USA Today. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
“What It Feels Like to Die from Heat Stroke.” Outside. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
“Fireworks Interdiction Task Force confiscates 60,000 pounds illegal/dangerous fireworks.” Inland Empire Community News. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
“Boy who lost several fingers in alleged firework attack on his birthday returns home.” Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 August 2019.