The sun is shining, and children are ready for a summer of bicycle rides and pool days. But before kids head outdoors, parents should talk with them about staying safe.
“Summer is our busiest time for kid injuries,” said Dr. Phillip Devadan, medical director of The Children’s Center at Chilton Medical Center. “Teaching your children about injury prevention will help both children and parents have a safe and fun summer.”
What are the best ways to help prevent injuries? Here are a few important tips to make sure your kids have a healthy and safe summer.
Kids Must Wear a Helmet
New Jersey law requires children ages 17 and under to wear a helmet while bicycling. Children should also wear helmets while riding kick scooters, hoverboards and other toys with wheels. “Helmets reduce a child’s chances of a head injury by 85 percent,” said Dr. Devadan.
Have a Water Watcher
Drowning claims an average of 10 lives each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Never let children swim unattended. Appoint a designated “water watcher” to supervise children in the pool. Consider swimming lessons so kids know how to tread water. Install a four-foot-high fence with a locking gate around all home pools.
Be Alert to Heat-Related Injuries
“These could be more common this year because children aren’t as conditioned as normal after being less active last summer due to the pandemic,” said Dr. Devadan. Avoid the sun when it is at its strongest, that is between noon and 4 p.m. Keep children under age 1 out of direct sun. Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 for children ages 2 and older. When doing outdoor activities, make sure to take indoor breaks and have children stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Stay Vigilant on the Playground
Make sure that the playground is the play-ground and not the peril-ground. Parental supervision can help kids avoid the bumps, bruises, and more serious accidents, like wrist or elbow fractures, that can come from falling off the monkey bars or swings.
Need the ER? Go!
Head to your nearest ER if your child has signs of prolonged heat exposure (nausea, cramping, fever, cool and clammy skin), a concussion (persistent vomiting, increased irritability, or seizures) or cuts that are more than 1 centimeter long and 1 millimeter deep. Don’t hesitate to take them to see a medical professional and have them treated right away.