You and your children may be excited about summertime fun, but you should be aware of the dangers of summer activities. Plenty of common summer pastimes can have hidden risks, and your child may be in danger if you don’t take steps to protect them. Learn more about how you can keep your kids safe this summer with these tips.
Certain injuries are more prevalent over the summer months than they are the rest of the year. Drowning or other swimming injuries, sports injuries, and heat injuries are among the most common injuries that emergency rooms treat children for each summer. To avoid a trip to the doctor, parents should be on the lookout for symptoms or hazards that may harm their child.
Mild dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are all common illnesses that can come from playing outside in the sun. Symptoms of a heat-related illness include dizziness, fatigue, nausea, headaches, and confusion. Prevent these illnesses by:
- Limiting the time spent outside and in the sun during peak hours, usually between 2:00 and 4:00 pm.
- Drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated. Sports drinks can replace lost electrolytes and help with hydration, but many contain high amounts of sugar, so they should be limited.
- Have your children play in the shade, if possible.
- Take breaks to go inside and cool off.
Swimming Injuries & Drowning
Unfortunately, drowning is the second leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 4 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Swimming pools pose the biggest drowning risk to children, but they also can place children at risk of other swimming related injuries, such as trauma, head injuries, and neck injuries. Protect your children with these tips:
- Never allow children to swim unsupervised. Always have a designated adult to watch the pool and ensure they are not distracted. If you are supervising your child, try to remain within arm’s reach of them.
- Have young children or unskilled swimmers wear a life vest around the pool.
- Do not use pool toys or inflatable rafts as a substitution for a lifeguard floatation device or life vest.
- Enroll your children in swimming classes. Even infants may be able to take a class in Infant Self Rescue techniques, which teaches the child how to roll onto their back and float until help arrives.
- Do not allow horseplay or running in the pool area.
- Fence your pool with a sturdy, tall fence. Use self-latching gates at all entrances, and keep patio furniture away from the fence to prevent climbing.
- Empty small splash or kiddie pools after use.
- Teach your children how to read depth markers on pools, and never allow them to dive into water less than 6 feet deep. If they are not sure if the water is deep enough and free of obstructions, do not let them jump in.
- Never allow children to perform tricks, such as flips, into the pool.
Burns & Cuts
Skin injuries, such as burns and cuts, may be minor, but children’s fragile skin can be easily damaged. Grilling, campfires, and hot surfaces, such as a patio or playground equipment, can cause burn injuries. Scrapes, bumps, and bruises are a hallmark of childhood, especially when kids are active. Keep them safe by:
- Always supervising children around heat sources, including grills and fire pits.
- Checking playground equipment for damaged parts, sharp parts, and temperature before allowing children to play on the playground.
- Requiring your children to wear shoes outside to protect them from hot surfaces and other hazards on the ground.
- Dressing them appropriately for the activity, such as ensuring that no part of their clothing can be caught on a playground, or covering arms and legs if there is the chance of a fall from a bicycle.
- Always requiring helmets to be worn when riding a bicycle, scooter, or tricycle. If your children are roller-skating, you may also want to require they wear elbow pads, knee pads, and wrist guards.
- Supervise children in the kitchen, and avoid placing hot dishes, knives, or appliances where children may pull them down. Always turn pot handles away from the edges of the stove.
- Protect against sunburn by regularly applying sunscreen, staying in the shade during peak exposure hours, and wearing protective clothing, such as hats, long sleeves, and sunglasses.
Summer barbeques and camp outs can increase the risk of food poisoning. Food may not be cooked appropriately or may be left out in warm temperatures for too long, allowing bacteria to breed. Unwashed or improperly washed fruit and vegetables can also cause food poisoning. Protect yourself and your children with these guidelines:
- Never leave refrigerated food out for more than an hour in the summer heat. If you are unsure, steer clear.
- Always keep raw and ready to eat food separate when preparing, shopping for, and storing food.
- Wash your hands and cooking surfaces frequently when preparing food, and when transitioning between raw meat, cooked meat, vegetables, and dairy products.
- Never let raw meat touch the same surface as cooked food or raw produce.
- Defrost food in the refrigerator.
- Cook all food to a safe temperature, and check using a food thermometer. Ground meat should be cooked to 160 F, steaks, roasts, or chops to 145 F, and poultry to 165 F.
If your child does exhibit signs of food poisoning, it is important to prevent dehydration. Let their stomach settle and offer them ice chips and sips of water, sports drinks, clear soda, or clear broth. Ease them back into eating with easy-to-digest foods such as crackers, toast, gelatin, bananas, and rice. Avoid caffeine, dairy products, and fatty or strongly seasoned foods until they are feeling better. Seek medical care if their condition doesn’t improve within 48 hours or they begin to exhibit symptoms such as bloody stool or vomit.
Kids playing games and sports can contribute to an increase in sports related injuries over summer. Kids can sustain fractures, twisted ankles, and sprains while playing. Seek medical care for any injuries, and follow your pediatrician’s recommendations for home care. They will likely recommend the injury is elevated, ice is applied regularly to treat swelling, and that your child limits their activities. Prevent these injuries with these tips:
- Always use appropriate protective gear, such as shin guards, helmets, or knee pads.
- Teach your children how to stretch and warm up before activity.
- Supervise play.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, you should seek representation from our Austin personal injury attorneys. Our team is prepared to protect your rights with caring, experienced legal services. At the Law Offices of Vic Feazell, P.C., we are committed to helping our injured clients receive the compensation they deserve.
Contact our offices by calling (512) 710-0931 to schedule a free consultation.