Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Child's Play Long Summer Days Offer Endless Chances for Fund - and Injury

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Child's Play Long Summer Days Offer Endless Chances for Fund - and Injury

Article excerpt

Nine-year-old Louie Asinger was looking forward to a summer of swimming, baseball and ice hockey. Instead, he's sidelined with a broken left arm after a pickup football game.

"About the only thing I can do is flip channels on the remote - and read," he said last week. His only consolation: His cast glows in the dark.

Louie, of west St. Louis County, is one of thousands of children around the country who have already fallen victim to the perils of summer - falls from trees and sliding boards, bicycle and skateboard accidents, near-drownings, over-exuberant roughhousing.

If past practice holds, thousands more will be injured before school resumes. More children suffer from unintentional injuries between May and September than during any other period. Injuries to children from fires and skiing and sledding accidents decline in the summer, but every other type of injury rises.

"No one anticipates that a tragedy will strike during this fun-filled time, but this is when children are pushing their abilities to the limits," said Heather Paul, executive director of the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, a project of Children's National Medical Center in Washington.

Some of the reasons are obvious. With school out and more hours of daylight, children have more time for rough-and-tumble play. And many summer activities take place in, on or near water, which has inherent risks.

But in many cases, the underlying reason is insufficient supervision.

"Supervision is critical," said Cherie Crowe, chief of the Missouri Office of Injury Control. "Many child fatalities and serious injuries would not occur if children were properly supervised." Teaching Safety

Numerous efforts are under way locally to make the summer of 1995 safe for children.

Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital hopes to enroll thousands of children in its "Play It Safe Club." Members receive bicycle reflectors, sunglasses and a poster about "summer bummers."

The Hazelwood, Webster Groves and St. Peters recreation departments are teaching bicycle and pedestrian safety to scores of 4- through 7-year-olds through Safety Town programs.

"Safety Ville," a pedestrian and bicycle safety program for young children, will be offered at Fair St. Louis by the Safety Council of Greater St. Louis.

Scouts study safety. More than 3,300 area Brownies and Girl Scouts and 2,600 area Boy Scouts are expected to earn safety-related merit badges this year. Biggest Risk Is Injury

Although many parents live in fear of their children developing cancer, the most common risk for children is unintentional injury, the leading cause of death for children 14 and under. Each year, about 7,200 American children are killed and 50,000 permanently disabled by injuries, many of them preventable.

Since January 1993, Missouri has been collecting detailed information about injuries from the state's hospitals. …

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