Safety Tips to Maximize the Fun this Summer
Summer time always has a very special place in the hearts of kids. It’s a time for them to really enjoy the freedoms of childhood, playing at the park, riding their bikes through the neighborhood, frolicking in swimming pools, and so much more.
These childhood activities can be fun and instrumental in the development of kids. However, the can also lead to injuries and illnesses that these children may not be really prepared for. Emergency room physicians observe that these safety issues typically start piling up the moment Fourth of July children’s festivities kicks in.
Some incidents are not entirely avoidable, though. Nevertheless, parents can still take a variety of precautions to avoid visiting a doctor’s office or even the ER.
10 of the most common summer injuries:
- Heat exposure
One of the most common health concerns among kids during the summer is heat exposure. If the kid appears fatigued, has just vomited, or complains of pain or body aches, there’s a good chance he or she has heat exposure. For such a child, medical attention is an absolute must since dehydration is one of the major complications of heat exposure.
Kids should have access to plenty of fresh and clean fluids, preferably water. Parents can also supervise their children especially in terms of minimizing the length of time the kids are under the sun. Keeping them in the shade during certain times of the day can also help prevent heat exposure.
While it is easy to think that heat exposure only affects those directly under the sun, kids that are left inside their respective vehicles in hot weather can also suffer heat exposure. Small kids are especially vulnerable to such unsafe practices.
- Bike and playground injuries
Preventing injuries in children seems like an impossible task. However, you can choose playgrounds that have a much safer design than others. Consider the landing surfaces of the play sets. Wood chips or other soft materials placed under the monkey bars can provide a softer landing for kids should they lose grip of the bars and fall to the ground. It’s also a good idea to select playgrounds that have fence enclosures and are far from the roadway.
Teaching kids the importance of wearing helmets and other protective gear whenever they ride their bike, skateboard, scooter, roller skates, or any other summertime kiddie ride is also a must for every parent.
Some medical professionals advise against allowing your kid to jump and have fun on a trampoline. There is an increasing number of cases of children with head and neck injuries because of flipping on the trampoline. Sprained ankles and other leg injuries are also common on trampolines. To reduce the risk of trampoline injuries, horseplay should be discouraged around trampolines. Also, be sure that the springs on the trampoline are properly maintained to allow for a safe bounce. Finally, netting should be placed around the trampoline to avoid falling off hte trampoline.
Not all injures require medical treatment. However, if a kid complains of severe pain, has a large open wound, cannot bear his weight on his bone, or complains that the pain simply won’t go away, then a trip to the doctor is necessary.
- Sunburn and water injuries
What’s summertime without fun time in the water? Kids should always learn how to become good swimmers. They should always be supervised whenever they head out into the water. This is regardless of whether they are good swimmers or not. For kids who don’t know how to swim or aren’t good swimmers, flotation devices and a watchful eye are musts. It is equally important to head to beaches and swimming pools manned by lifeguards.
Using the appropriate SPF50+ sunscreen is also important as the unique anatomy of children’s skin make them more vulnerable to sunburns than adults. Since most sunscreens don’t really do well in water, it is imperative that frequent reapplication is observed.
Summer is that time of the year when the green earth is in its full swing, sending pollen and other potentially allergenic particles into the summer air. As kids love to roll around in grass as well as play in the bushes, it is highly likely that they can get rashes on their bodies as a sign of allergic reaction.
Parents can help kids with pollen allergies by spraying the lawn with appropriate treatments and taking proactive measures to help their children identify certain plants that may cause allergies. This way they can avoid getting in contact with the allergens and secure a more fun summer for them.
- Food poisoning
Some of the more common issues related to food safety during the summer include highly perishable food that has been left out way too long, fruits and vegetables not thoroughly cleaned, and meat that was not cooked correctly, among others. These issues can lead to salmonella poisoning causing abdominal cramps, fever, and diarrhea within the first 12 to 72 hours after consuming such food items.
Kids should be taught to wash their hands thoroughly before and after meals. As for parents, food safety is a must. Taking the time to learn about stomach viruses should also help since these infections of the tummy are more prevalent in the summer because people are naturally in a more ‘sharing’ mood. If possible, avoid drinking from the same water bottle that other people are also drinking from. Use individual cups or glasses instead.
- Skin Rashes
Ringworm and molluscum, as well as other extremely contagious viral rashes, are quite common among children, especially in the summer. This is because kids at this time of the year love wearing less clothing and their playtime activities typically bring them in close contact with other kids.
Such conditions are best managed in a doctor’s clinic. The treatment doesn’t cause any pain. However, the best defense is still good hygiene; although having a clear idea of the ‘kid’ who might be spreading these skin rashes can help parents protect their kids.
It is easy to think that concussions are more of a problem for football players, boxers, and athletes of other sports than for kids. However, the playground can be an equally-hazardous place for young ones. One wrong move and a child can hit his or her head on almost anything or even anyone.
If the kid who suffered a blow to the head complains of nausea, headache, blurred vision, or even dizziness, there’s a likely chance the kid has suffered a concussion. In some cases, kids may present with memory problems, agitation, loss of concentration, and confusion. In those circumstances, medical treatment is required.
It is important to pay special attention to one’s kids. They may show minor complaints after a blow to the head, but the more serious complications will usually come in several days after the accident. By then you may only have a very vague recollection of what happened. So be mindful of your kids’ activities whenever they’re out in the playground as anything can happen.
- Colds and other viruses
While colds are often associated with the winter months, there are actually other cold viruses that exist even in summertime. As such it is imperative to teach kids how to properly wash their hands. It is equally important to teach kids when they need to wash their hands other than the usual mealtime routine. This can include the time after playing in the playground or the park. Taking a shower before and after hitting the swimming pool can also help kids avoid catching germs and other things.
- Tick and other insect bites
Ticks and other bugs come alive during the summer. These organisms frequently inhabit the woods. While these bugs may not be dangerous in themselves, it’s the microorganisms that they carry and transmit to kids and other people that make them quite a formidable foe. West Nile Virus and Lyme disease are just two of the more common infections that can be transmitted by these bugs.
Whenever your kid goes outdoors, it is best to make him or her wear appropriate protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and pants. This is to help prevent getting in contact with ticks. Bug sprays can also help, although medical professionals say protective clothing works best against ticks. Always check your kid’s head and body for the presence of ticks. You can remove these bugs using tweezers. Some medical clinics can also test the tick that you removed from your kid to determine the kind of microorganisms that these ticks carry.
- Cuts and scrapes
Children who fall can have wounds. If the wound is deep enough, is gaping open and won’t close, or doesn’t stop bleeding, it’s always a sure sign that you need to bring your kid to the doctor. Otherwise, cuts and scrapes should be thoroughly cleaned and treated right at home. If a wound develops puss or significant inflammation, emergency medical treatment should be sought.
Summertime is often equated with fun. Kids don’t really think that much about safety issues since it’s all about having fun for them. Therefore, it is up to the parents to institute safety measures in order to prevent or avoid these 10 common illnesses and injuries. This way kids can enjoy the summer the way they want to.