When the temperatures soar into the 80s, people flock to their favorite summer activities. And emergency room doctors brace for the worst.
"Yeah, we just had a gorgeous, beautiful Vermont weekend and so that gets people outside, which is a great thing, but that also subjects people to getting injured," said Dr. Stephen Leffler, the chief medical officer at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington.
Bicycle, car and motorcycle accidents are just a few of the things doctors see.
"One of the worst things we will see sometimes is a parent or grandparent wanting to ride with their child on the lawnmower," Leffler said. "It's just not safe. The mower is not meant for two people. They typically are sitting on someone's lap and any kind of obstacle they hit-- the child will fall off."
Push mowers can be dangerous, as well. People should wear boots or heavy shoes to help prevent injury.
Leffler says of all the accidents the emergency room sees over the summer, and there are a lot, the number one cause is four-wheelers.
"There is not a weekend that goes by over the summer that we don't see some child or teenager injured in a four-wheeler accident," Leffler said. "They go very fast, they are powerful and oftentimes children and young adults drive them faster than the conditions warrant and can be severely injured or even die."
Safety equipment is a must; helmets, life jackets, adult supervision will all help prevent an accident. The doctor also recommends staying well-hydrated during the hot days, but that does not include alcohol.
"Alcohol adds a huge risk to all activities you are doing," Leffler said. "You lose judgment, so things you probably would not do if you were sober, with some alcohol on board suddenly your judgment is no longer as good as it could be and people take many, many more risks."
So get out there and enjoy summer. Just remember to play it safe. And Leffler says before even going outside, use plenty of sunscreen.
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