As the seasons change, so do potential dangers for Montana’s children, so Safe Kids Missoula has released important information on keeping little ones out of harms way this summer.

Co-coordinator for Safe Kids Missoula, Kira Huck said the first issue of importance is to make sure you never leave a child alone in a vehicle, for any reason. In fact, there was a near miss just a few days ago in Great Falls that brought the issue to the news.

“There was a near miss with a child in Great Falls,” said Huck. “A mother was found sleeping in the car with the windows rolled up and a one year-old child inside. The child is okay but this is a good reminder for people to call 9-1-1 if they do see a child alone in a vehicle. In this case, the child was not alone, but the parent was asleep and unable to monitor her child.”

Huck said parents should create reminders that the child is in the back car seat or leave an important item in the back so that the parent will know the child is there.

Next, Huck addressed the issue of water safety. On average, about 1,000 children die each year due to drowning and more than 5,000 are seen in emergency rooms for injuries from near-drowning incidents nationwide.

“It all starts with active supervision,” she said. “Give your child your undivided attention while they’re in the water. If you’re part of a group, use the Water Watcher Card. You can rotate in 15 minute periods so that someone is always actively watching the children while they’re in the water.”

Children should never be allowed to be around water alone. Huck said it’s also important for parents to be trained how to perform CPR in case of an emergency. She also had a tip on how to know if your child has a properly fitted life jacket.

“Have them raise their hands over their head like they’re signaling a touchdown,” she said. “If the jacket hits the child’s chin or ears the jacket could be too big or the straps need to be adjusted. If you need a life jacket that fits check out life jackets from the Missoula Family YMCA or Missoula Public Library."

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