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Summer Safety Tips

May 18, 2019

Stankovic Curt2015compressedWith summer around the corner and school almost out, kids everywhere will be enjoying many fun activities including pool outings, barbecues and fireworks.  It also means parents and kids need to be aware that kids are at higher risk of severe injury or death. 

A report by the National Safety Kids Campaign found that May through August account for nearly half of all injury- related childhood deaths, with July being the deadliest month.

In the average summer, children ages 14 and under will be rushed to emergency rooms nearly three million times for serious injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes, drownings, bike crashes, pedestrian incidents, falls and other hazards. More than 2,500 of these children will die.

Curt Stankvic M.D., division chief and research director, Emergency Medicine, on staff at Children’s Hospital of Michigan suggests the following tips to keep your child safe during the summer and all year long.

1. Stay Properly Hydrated

Kids are especially prone to getting dehydrated because they are often too busy enjoying the outdoors and can forget to drink water or sports beverages. The problem becomes more pronounced in hot weather when even more fluids are required to stay properly hydrated. Drinking before, during, and after a physical activity is crucial for optimal performance.

2. Respect the sun

Whether you are competing in a soccer match or running a marathon, it is very important to wear sunscreen to avoid a major sunburn that can cause not only temporary discomfort but long term health risks. Your skin can get sunburned in as little as a few minutes without proper protection. To avoid sunburn, get a sunscreen that is sweat and water resistant and apply liberally throughout your body.  Try to reapply at least every two hours. Also try to avoid the midday sun if possible or use extra sunscreen since midday can cause the most damage to your skin. 

3.  Avoid Heat Related Illnesses

Athletes are especially prone to heat-related illness such as dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke while exercising in hot weather. Most serious heat illness in athletes can be prevented by following basic guidelines on proper hydration and nutrition, replacing lost electrolytes, using sunscreen, avoiding the hottest time during the day if possible and wearing appropriate clothing. If guidelines are ignored, they may progress into a life-threatening heat emergency and possibly death.   

4. Take special precautions in the outdoors

Biking, skateboarding and inline skating can be a lot of fun and great exercise during the warm weather, but these activities cause thousands of injuries every year.  According to the Children’s Safety Network, children under 15 account for more than half of all bicycle injuries in emergency rooms.  Many of those injuries can be prevented by always wearing appropriate head gear/helmets.  Common skateboarding and inline skating injuries include the knees, wrists, elbows, head and face.  Wearing a protective helmet along with wrist, knee, and elbow guards are proven modes of protection to stay injury free.

5. Keep Kids Safe in the Water

Drowning is the greatest summer risk for children ages 14 and under, increasing 96 percent above average during the summer. A child can drown in a matter of seconds, typically when the child is left unattended. Floaty rings and water wings are not life preservers and do not protect children from drowning. Also to prevent illness from pool water remind children to keep the poop, germs, and pee out of the water. Take young children on bathroom breaks every 60 minutes or check diapers every 30–60 minutes. Don't swallow the water you swim in.

6. Prevent pool related illness

To prevent illness from pool water remind children to keep the poop, germs, and pee out of the water. Take young children on bathroom breaks every 60 minutes or check diapers every 30–60 minutes. Don't swallow the water you swim in.

7. Lawnmower Safety

Each year in the United States, nearly 9500 children under age 18 require emergency treatment for lawn care related injuries. Approximately 25 percent of these injuries involve children under the age of five. One in every five deaths caused by a lawnmower involves a child. Most of these deaths occur when the child falls off of, or is run over by, a riding mower. These tragedies often involve toddlers and young children.

8. Ensure Boat Safety

Keep boating fun by making safety a priority. Consider that of the people who died in boating incidents in 2009, more than 7 out of 10 (73%) drowned. More than 90 percent of the people who drowned were not wearing a life jacket. To prevent drowning, properly fitted life jackets should be worn at all times by everyone on a boat. 

9. Fireworks Summer Safety Tips

Never allow young children to play with fireworks. Sparklers injure children under five most often. Never re-light fireworks that have not fully functioned. Also, keep a bucket of water or hose near in case of fires.

10. Trampoline Safety Tips

Children younger than six should not use a trampoline. Kids should remain in the center while bouncing. Limit trampoline use to one person on at a time. Also do not attempt somersaults on the trampoline. Exposed steel frames and springs should be equipped with a safety pad.