Guest Author - Dr. Gwenn
Summer is a wonderful time to enjoy the great outdoors but is not without its dangers. Swimming, outdoor sports, excursions to far away places, and relaxing time with friends and family are eagerly welcomed after a long school year. While some injuries are unforeseen, most are avoidable with a bit of planning and information.
Here are the safety highlights to consider for the most popular summer activities:
1. Good supervision for everything. Many summer accidents occur due to poor supervision so know who will be with your children and have a safety plan in place. For older kids and teens, a cell phone could come in handy should an accident occur.
2. Be sun smart. Use sunscreen SPF 30 or higher and reapply every 2 hours and after swimming. Keep small children and infants out of direct sun; they can become overheated and dehydrated easily. All children should take breaks out of the sun and drink plenty of fluids. Signs of heat exhaustion to watch for include looking red and flushed and becoming fatigued or fussy. Anyone with those symptoms should be brought into a cool room and given a drink. Seek medical attention if the symptoms worsen.
3. No helmet, No ride. Helmets and appropriate knee and elbow pads are essential for avoiding serious injuries should falls occur. Make sure your kids avoid riding on streets or in busy areas. Small children should never ride scooters as they do not have the coordination or reflexes to properly control them. Everyone should wear a helmet, even adults. I always explain to kids that we can fix broken arms and legs, but don’t do so well with broken brains!
4. Mowing alone. Never mow the lawn with kids outside and never allow children to ride with you on ride-on mowers.
5. Never swim alone. Children should never be left alone by a beach or pool even for a moment; that’s when drowning occurs. For pools, consider the newer alarm systems to alert you when the gate has been opened or when the water has been entered. For young toddlers and preschools, keep them within arms length at all times. If you need to leave the area, even for a moment, take your children with you.
6. Don the vest. Every boater and tuber should wear a certified, properly fitting life vest. This applies even to competent swimmer.
7. Call your pediatrician if at all unsure what to do. This is especially important for musculoskeletal injuries or sick symptoms that may occur during and possibly because of summer activities.
8. Be prepared. First aid supplies to have close at hand: band-aids, ace wraps, antibiotics ointments, gauze, ice packs, antiseptic cleanser, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, to name a few. You can even make portable packs for your car, backpack and bike.
9. Keep the bugs away. You’ll find more information on Insect Bites and Stings.
10. Have a blast and be safe!! ‘nuf said on this one!