Summer Tragedies

Summertime and the living is easy.

Or at least it should be.

For school kids, summer should be a time of Popsicles, playing and pretending.

It’s not a time of death.

Or at least it shouldn’t be.

Unfortunately, in the past two weeks, two local kids have experienced tragic ends to their lives, and the official start of summer doesn’t start for another few hours.

On Sunday, an 8-year-old Milwaukee area boy died from injuries he sustained in a freak bike accident.

According to police, the boy was biking near a family member’s house on Father’s Day evening when he lost control and crashed. Deputies say the little boy was making a turn into the relative’s driveway, but was going too fast, and hit a 13-inch high rock fence. When he hit the rocks, he was reportedly thrown into the air and landed on his bike’s unprotected handlebars. Officials say he wasn’t wearing a helmet when his head hit the handlebars.

Last week, a five-year-old girl drowned in a pool during an unusually warm stretch we experienced. Police say the girl was left unattended when her aunt went inside to turn off an oven timer.

Following the little girl’s tragic death, the local media ran a slew of reports on how easy it is for kids to drown in a fraction of a minute, and in water depth that may seem incredibly shallow to most adults.

According to the journal Pediatrics, in 2010, drownings were to blame for 756 child deaths out of 4434 in the United States alone. What’s more, researchers say it’s not just larger pools that pose a risk to kids, pop-up or inflatable wading pools have also caused hundreds of deaths from coast-to-coast.

The Pediatrics study found that 244 kids under the age of 12 were injured as a result of pool submersions between 2001 and 2009, with 209 resulting in death. According to researchers, the average age of drowning was 2.2 years old, and the water depth at the time of recorded submersions ranged from 2 inches to 4 feet.

Those are sobering statistics, but the number that shocked me even more was that in 66 percent of the cases, an adult was supervising the kids, but had either gone to chat with a neighbor, answer the phone, or left to tend to other chores.

Food for thought as we segue into the official start of summer.

Related Articles:

Do You Use Your TV as a Babysitter?

Who Watches Your Kids on Vacation?

Do You Leave Your Kids Alone in the Car?

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.