YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — From the beautiful colors to the crisp sound as you walk on them, leaves are arguably one of the best parts of fall. Many kids find great joy in jumping and playing in leaf piles, but before you let them, there are some hidden dangers to keep in mind.
Even adults can find it hard to resist the lure of sending a pile of leaves up in the air in a flurry of orange and red. This time of year it’s common to see giant piles of leaves left on the curb. Many local towns are offering leaf pick-up this week. These can be tempting for kids to jump into.
“Children get in there. … They want to bury themselves. … And people drift off the road all the time, whether it be distracted driving or they’re avoiding an animal, and there have been tragedies throughout the country where there are statistics on children that have been hit by cars from playing in leaf piles,” said Bill McMahon, injury prevention coordinator with Akron Children’s Hospital.
Some of those tragedies hit close to home. A Canfield native’s two daughters were killed back in 2013 in Oregon when a car hit the pile of leaves they were playing in.
McMahon said it’s crucial that drivers watch out for leaves on the road.
“They can get slippery. They build up the sliminess of them, sometimes stopping on those you can slide,” McMahon said. “There are also dead branches that may have not come down, so they’re jumping in and possibly could receive puncture wounds to the eyes, nose, mouth.”
The closer you are to trees or woods, the greater the potential for ticks. McMahon says this doesn’t have to put a damper on fall fun, but if you are going to let your child play in leaves, make sure the leaf pile is in the center of your yard away from the road.