Three Ways Summer Can Be Deadly

June 2nd 2017

Danielle DeCourcey

A new season is upon us. Summer is here in the U.S. and that means pool parties, barbecues, and tragically, weather related deaths. Summer brings searing hot temperatures that can be a serious health risk.

But is summer actually the deadliest season?

In terms of the weather itself, the answer is no. Winter weather actually kills more people than summer weather. A 2014 National Health Statistics report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 63 percent of people who die from weather-related causes each year die from cold weather, and 31 percent die from heat-related causes. Another 6 percent were attributed to floods, storms, or lightening.

However, the summer has its own dangers, which have less to do with the heat itself, and more to do with how people's behavior changes in the hotter months.

Here are three deadly dangers of summer you should know about.

1. Violent crime tends to rise in the summer.







Research suggests that cities see an increases in violent crime when the weather is warmer.

A 2001 report by University of Iowa professor Craig Anderson found that there were 2.6 percent more assaults and murders across the U.S. in the summer compared to the winter. A 2010 analysis of violence in Cleveland, Ohio from 1999 to 2004 by Kent State University researcher Scott C. Sheridan and Paul Butke from the Terra National Real Estate Group found that hotter temperatures were associated with increases in domestic violence and assaults.

"If you plot crime and temperature together you get a straight line up," Sheridan told CBS News in 2012. "Some of the reason is increase in aggressive behavior, but a lot of it has to do with more people interacting with each other when the weather is warmer."

Chicago, a city frequently in the headlines for its gun violence epidemic, saw it's deadliest month for gun violence in two decades in August of 2016.

2. Watch out for teenage drivers.

Last year was reportedly the deadliest year on record in a decade for auto accidents. In February the National Safety Council estimated that about 40,000 people died in accidents in 2016, up about 6 percent from 2015. Despite the fact that winter can bring icy road conditions with poor visibility, the summer is more deadly on a national level, especially when teenage drivers are involved.

The American Automobile Association calls the period starting with Memorial Day Weekend the "100 Deadliest Days" for accidents with teenage drivers. In the past five years more than 5,000 people have been killed in crashes involving teen drivers with an average of 1,022 each year, according to a report by AAA.

"A full third of annual crashes occur in June, July, and August. As we look ahead to the summer months, it's important to remember that the lion's share of these crashes can be prevented," Skyler McKinley, the spokesman for AAA Colorado told ATTN: "They're caused by impairment, distraction, and inexperience."

The number of deaths involving teen drivers rises by 16 percent in the summer compared to other days in the year and it's simply because more teens are on the road. The organization says that about 60 percent of accidents with teenagers are related to distracted driving, often because of phone use. McKinley said that parents can help decrease the danger.

"When it comes to teens, then, there's a parenting lesson: Spend time teaching your kids to drive, remind them to put their phone in their glove box, and limit the number of passengers they can have in their car," he said.

3. It's not just children who drown.

Memorial Day weekend often marks the opening of pools across the country and more Americans start to head to the beaches. Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of 5, but it also kills plenty of adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 10 people die from drowning everyday, and two of those are children 14 or younger. That means that most people who drown in the U.S. are at least 15 years old. There are nearly 4,000 unintentional drownings in the U.S. every year, including boat-related incidents. Even strong adult swimmers can be at risk for drowning, and they shouldn't swim alone or without the supervision of a lifeguard.

Some of these deaths come as the result of unnecessary risk-taking that endanger even the strongest swimmers. For example, "Shallow Water Blackout Syndrome" has killed both Navy Seals and Olympic-level swimmers who were trying to hold their breath for extended periods of time.

In 2015, elite 21-year-old swimmer Tate Ramsden died while doing laps at a YMCA in Florida. He was trying to swim 4,000 yards without taking a breath.

"It's another tragic event; it's completely preventable," Dr. Rhonda Milner, the founder of the Shallow Water Blackout Prevention Organization told ABC News in 2015. "One of my current concerns, he was an excellent swimmer; he didn't understand that he was putting himself at risk."

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