Summer is inevitably one of the most exciting yet, dangerous seasons of the year. Studies by Pew Research Center show visits to the emergency room during the summer months increase by up to 27 percent annually, with the weeks surrounding the July Fourth holiday showing the largest spikes in severe injuries.
Despite the typical bumps and bruises associated with summer break, not all injury victims are lucky enough to experience minor damages. Injuries from summer accidents can include amputations, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord fractures, severe burns, and other catastrophic damages that, sadly, include death. The implications of these injuries can result in excruciating pain and reduced quality of life, with thousands of dollars in medical bills and long-term treatments to follow.
Preventing summer injuries in New York City and on Long Island starts with knowing how these accidents occur. As safety and health advocates, our team believes in the power of educating residents on the tools required to keep their families safe throughout these hectic months. The following are the most common causes of summer accidents and what steps New Yorkers can take to reduce their risk of injuries.
It comes as no surprise that motor vehicle accidents remain one of the leading causes of injury and fatalities in the summer. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (N.H.T.S.A) reports that drivers are at a higher risk for traffic accidents in the warmer months than at any other time of the year. Over 9,050 fatal accidents were reported in 2018 alone, occurring only between the months of June through August.
In addition to more traffic congestion and driving distractions, the summer months bring a swarm of new and inexperienced drivers on the road. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, otherwise known as the 100 Deadliest Days, teens account for a surprising amount of fatal accidents, averaging around 700 fatalities per season. Most of these tragedies result from inexperience, speeding, distractions, intoxication, and neglecting to wear seatbelts in a vehicle.
Off-roading motor vehicles, such as dirt bikes and ATV’s, are also more commonly used in the summer months and can cause traumatic injuries when things go wrong. These vehicles operate on rough terrain and provide zero protection to riders in the case of an accident. Rollover accidents and collisions that occur at high speed are known to cause the most damage.
Drivers of any motor vehicle this summer can drastically reduce their risk of an accident by adhering to simple safe driving tips, including:
- Drive sober and without the influence of drugs;
- Reduce distractions inside the vehicle;
- Stay alert to hazards on the road;
- Keep speeds low to gain better control;
- Reduce the amount of nighttime driving hours;
- Never drive fatigued or drowsy;
- Avoid pulling aggressive and reckless maneuvers; and
- Keep your vehicle in good working condition to avoid dangerous malfunctions.
Water-related accidents in the summer are often devastating. Drowning is the most serious of all accidents in the water and a leading cause of death for children in the summer. According to the drowning advocacy group End Drowning Now, over 24,000 Americans have died from drowning accidents between 2009 and 2018. New York was ranked the fourth highest state for drowning accidents with 907 on record during this time period, preceded only by California (1,810), Texas (1.857), and Florida (1,945).
When breaking down where drowning accidents occurred the most, 21.3 percent were in pools, 25.9 percent in lakes, 27.2 percent in rivers, and 10.4 percent in the oceans. Alcohol use, neglecting to wear a life jacket, boat accidents, rough water, and lack of supervision are the leading causes of why these tragic accidents continue today.
Drownings are 100 percent preventable when the proper precautions are used on the water. Staying sober and alert when swimming with young children is crucial to preventing youth drownings. Supervision is key, and many water accidents involving children can be prevented when an adult is watching close by.
Adults who boat or use personal watercrafts should always drive sober and never drive at night or alone. Wearing a life jacket can immensely increase your survival rate in the case of an accident on the water when even the best swimmers can fall victim to drowning.
The summer heat can take a major toll on the human body. Weather-related injuries in the summer pertain to any injury or illness that onsets due to factors that are unique to summer. Some of these may include:
- Heat illnesses;
- Firework injuries;
- Food poisonings; and
- Bug bites.
While some of these injuries may not seem as severe compared to a broken bone or traumatic brain injury, most of these incidents result in multiple fatal injuries every year.
Heat illnesses, particularly heatstroke, can lead to life-threatening health consequences when extreme temperatures are present. Athletes, outdoor workers, children, older adults, and residents with compromised immune systems are all considered high-risk for experiencing the severe effects associate with heat illnesses. And with the presence of COVID-19 this summer, the outcomes of heat illnesses on those who have been exposed to the virus are unknown.
The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (C.D.C.) advises all Americans to familiarize themselves with the signs and symptoms of heat illnesses to reduce the chance of severe outcomes. New Yorkers can take several steps to help prevent the onset of heat illnesses, including taking cold showers after being in the heat, wearing light clothing, putting on sun protection, staying in the shade, drinking plenty of water, and resting often when temperatures are high.
Between practice, training camps, and seasonal competitions, summer is the season for athletes to give it all they got. The increase in outdoor and indoor sports already puts athletes at an increased risk for injuries. Adding in the summer heat and extreme fatigue from overworking, and you have the perfect recipe for summer sports injuries to occur.
Sports injuries can range in severity depending on the sport and level of contact. According to a study by the C.D.C., the most commonly injured body parts in sports are the lower extremities and upper extremities, followed by the head and neck. These injuries can include broken bones, concussions, sprains and strains, ligament injuries, or even heat-illnesses affecting internal organs.
The safest way to play sports in the summer is to not overdo it. Coaches should be encouraging athletes to take plenty of cool-down and water breaks during practices and allow athletes to rest when they appear too tired to continue safely. The harder an athlete pushes through in hazardous conditions, the more at risk they become for sports-related injuries.
Accidents happen, but that is no excuse for negligence when it comes to safety during the summer. For more information on how you can keep your family healthy this summer, check out these resources below:
- CDC’s Eight Tips for Safe and Healthy Summertime Work and Play
- Summer Driving Tips 2020 (N.H.T.S.A.)
- End Drowning Now
- Five Minutes or Less for Health Weekly Tip: Be Summer-Savvy (C.D.C.)
- Child Safe Summer (Nassau County)
New York City and Long Island Accident Attorneys
Our personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Siler & Ingber, have over 20 years of experience serving clients across New York City and Long Island. We protect your rights by maximizing recovery and securing the financial support our clients need to succeed on their road to recovery. Our winning attorneys know how to navigate through the claim process using past experience as insurance defense attorneys. We are not afraid to fight and are fully prepared to take your case to trial to get a justified verdict over settling for less.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident due to the negligence of another, our team at Siler & Ingber is here to help. With a 98% success rate, we have the experience and the know-how to help our clients achieve a favorable outcome. Contact us today at 1-877-LAW-4343 or schedule an appointment online anytime. We never charge a fee unless we recover money for you.