First Responders Urge Conn. Families to be Safe This Summer

Whether in or out of the water, summer can be a dangerous time, which is why state leaders urge families to be cautious with their kids this season.

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With summer in full swing, it's easy to find people outside, enjoying the sun or trying to escape the heat. But with that, comes safety. 

On Wednesday, staff at Connecticut Children's along with state police and child advocates urged families to be extra responsible this summer when boating, swimming, driving, and celebrating the Fourth of July.

Whether in or out of the water, summer can be a dangerous time. Some first responders even call it "trauma season" as the heat combined with unsafe practices can put children at risk. 

"I'm a pediatric emergency medicine doctor here at Connecticut Children's, and we see lots of summer injuries," said Dr. Steven Rogers, Emergency Physician at Connecticut Children's.

Rogers advises keeping your kids hydrated and reminds everyone to never leave pets or children in the car, where temperatures can quickly rise to dangerous levels.

He also warned families about the dangers of lawn mowers and impaired driving. With the Fourth of July just days away, fireworks are another concern.  

"Technically in Connecticut, anyone in use or possession of sparklers should be over 16 years of age," said Michael Dapkus, Co-Owner of Dapkus Fireworks in Durham.

In Connecticut, it's illegal for non-professional, non-licensed individuals to purchase, use, possess or sell fireworks. Sparklers and fountains (which produce sparks when lit), are legal but cannot be sold or used by anyone younger than 16.

Dapkus runs the state's only licensed consumer fireworks dealer and advocates safety for anyone handling fireworks.  

"I have to reiterate to parents not to give their kids any sparklers. They burn at 1,800 degrees. Parents think that sparklers are safe for children -- they're not," said Dapkus.

Five-year-old Uriel Jeudy of East Hartford says he really enjoys the summer "because it's so hot and we get to do some water activities." Families like Jeudy's can feel more comfortable at the beach now that lifeguards will be on duty at eight state parks for July 4th.

The trend will continue through the summer after DEEP recruited 90 lifeguards, nearly closing a months-long staffing gap. But they advise families to also keep an eye on their children.  

"Every Fourth of July weekend, the largest number of rescues that we see is unsupervised children in our swim areas," said Connecticut lifeguard trainer Alex Rambadt.

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