It's one of the most fun times of year, but statistically, it's also the deadliest. The summer season gets started this weekend with Memorial Day, and law enforcement and safety experts want to be sure you have happy memories. The News On 6â€™s Steve Berg reports the summer season is especially dangerous for kids, so officials have some old advice and some new laws to help deal with that problem.
It's the unofficial start of summer this weekend, and Mary Beth Ogle with Safe Kids Tulsa has an unpleasant, but accurate name for it, trauma season.
"Well, we have an 89% increase in child deaths during the summer months, and you think, why is that?" said Mary Beth Ogle with Safe Kids Tulsa.
The main reason is drowning. It's the leading cause of accidental death for kids 4 and under. Even more startling is that 89% of those drownings happen with a parent nearby, Ogle says.
"Isn't that a sad statistic, because you're there,â€ she said.
Ogle says movies and cartoons have created misconceptions about drowning.
"You have that flailing on top of the water as if that child has the ability to make any noise. They can't. They're submerged, and they also have water in their vocal cords, so they can't make noise," she said.
Boats and personal watercraft come with additional dangers, too. Oklahoma has a new law this year that requires kids 12 to 15 to take a training class and have a card with them when boating.
"The class that we teach is an eye-opening experience for a lot of these kids," Trooper Tony Richardson with the Oklahoma Lake Patrol said.
Trooper Richardson says they often quiz teenagers on the lake about the proper action when a boat is coming at you head on, or crossing your path.
"And the answer you always got back was, I don't know. And that's a scary thought to know that your child is out there and doesn't know what to do under those situations," said Richardson.
Officials say they know it's not much fun to think about, but better than risking an actual tragedy.
"Have fun, and we want you to have fun with your children. But your vigilance saves lives, your ability to foresee what could happen," Ogle said.
For more information on the new law and to find out how your child can get a permit go to www.okboated.com
Watch the video: New Boating Rules Aimed At Keeping Kids Safe
WEB EXTRA: Extended Interview With OHP Trooper Tony Richardson