A Safe Summer Essay

Risky Behavior

By Jon-Paul Croom, President, WellStar North Fulton Hospital

Jon-Paul Croom circa 1980

Summer. My favorite time of year as a child. I recall watching the second hand slowly tick by as I waited for the last bell of the school year. I was free to do whatever I wanted. For my friends and me, this included riding bikes, climbing trees, shooting BB guns, lighting firecrackers, and seeing how far we could jump from the rope swing. I won’t even mention the lawn darts. Obviously, most of my activities were not the safest and led to a few unscheduled trips to the Emergency Department. Risky behavior to be sure! But, summer hazards aren’t limited to kids. As adults, we are also prone to getting ourselves in trouble.

According to the National Safe Kids Campaign, 40 percent of Emergency Department (ED) visits occur between May and August. The National Safety Council (NSC) highlights the most common risk factors for summer:
Heat—Each year, we see many patients suffering from dehydration or heat stroke. When playing or working outside, take frequent breaks, wear sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater, and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Water Safety—Never leave your child unattended near water and don’t depend on lifeguards to watch your children. Don’t mix alcohol with water sports. None of us, including adults, are “drown-proof.”
Fireworks Safety—Each summer, we see both children and adults with burns and eye injuries associated with fireworks. Only responsible adults (not including my Uncle Bill) should oversee all lighting of sparklers, roman candles, and bottle
rockets.

I hope you and your family have a safe summer and avoid a visit to the ED. But, should you need us, know you are fortunate to have one of Georgia’s few Level II trauma centers right here in North Fulton. Whether dehydration or a traumatic event, our team of highly skilled professionals is here for you. But please, have a great—and safe—summer!