Skip past hazards and breathe easy this season with these summer playtime tips.
Help Kids Stay Safe This Summer
As the days get longer and warmer, kids and adults alike have plenty of reasons to get outdoors, but there are extra dangers to be on the lookout for. Drowning is the number one cause of injury-related death for kids ages 1-4, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but water isn’t the only potential hazard to be aware of this summer. Brush up on these Children's Miracle Network Hospitals-approved tips to keep your family safe this season.
Set rules for wheels. Properly fitted helmets are a must whenever bikes, boards, scooters, skates or ATVs are involved. Teach kids to ride or roll in a single-file line and always walk their bikes or boards across the street at crosswalks. Children under 10 should stick to sidewalks and paths, and remember reflectors are essential for anyone rolling after dark.
Leave the pyrotechnics to the pros. There’s no such thing as a safe firework, says Lisa Reichter, a trauma nurse coordinator at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, Omaha. Even sparklers burn at temperatures above 1,000 degrees and cause a surprising number of injuries each year. Instead, pull out the glow sticks to avoid burning little fingers and hands.
Mind the heat. Have fun indoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If that’s not an option, experts at Arkansas Children’s Hospital recommend wearing light-colored and lightweight clothing, taking shaded breaks every 20 to 30 minutes and drinking water or sports drinks every 15 minutes when active. And never leave a child unattended in a warm car. Even not-so-hot days can pose a risk, as inside temperatures rise quickly and can become life threatening in 10 minutes or less.
Beware of bugs. Scented soaps, perfumes, hair sprays and areas with standing pools of water are magnets for the creepy crawlies. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends insect repellents containing 10-30 percent DEET for children over 2 months old. Say no to combination sunscreen/insect repellent since sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours and repellent does not.
Save your skin and your sight. Both sunny and cloudy skies call for sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher applied 15 to30 minutes before going outside. Add tight-weaved clothing, brimmed hats and swimwear with built-in UVA protection to adequately prepare your family for sun exposure. And don’t forget the sunglasses — those eyes need cover, too!
Be water wise. A child can drown in just 1 inch of water. Never leave kids alone near filled-buckets, bathtubs, toilets, wading or swimming pools, or any body of water. Moms and dads should learn CPR and stay within an arm’s length of young swimmers. Medical sources at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia also insist kids wear a fitted, U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device on all boats, at all times.
Put the breaks on an activity if your child shows signs of being dizzy, light headed or nauseous, and know when to get help. If your child has signs of dehydration or heat stroke, including fainting, decreased urination or is refusing fluids, has a fever over 102 degrees or other questionable symptoms, call your healthcare provider for advice or visit an urgent care facility.
To learn more about your local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital and ways you can help make kids healthier, visit CMNHospitals.org.