What You Need to Know to Keep Your Children Safe & Healthy this Summer

Thursday, July 21, 2016

It’s been said that the sign of a healthy child is the occasional bump, bruise, or scratch, on knees, elbows, shins, and chins. These things come with an active child and summer fun, but there are some things that we can do as parents to help keep our children safe and avoid potentially serious injuries this time of year. Here are a few tips that may help.

PREVENT INJURIES

According to the CDC, over 200,000 children visit the emergency department each year to be treated for injuries related to falls at their homes and community playgrounds. At Mid America Rehab, we see these injuries in therapy regularly. Here are some things to help keep your child safe:

Check the playground first- survey the playground prior to letting your child play. Be sure surfaces are soft and free of debris, check for loose swings, bolts, or other potential hazards.

Always supervise your child- As with any outdoor activity, you are your child’s best defense when it comes to their safety. An observant parent or guardian can prevent a child from playing in an area that is not age appropriate and steering them away from areas that may be unsafe.

Use stair gates- to prevent a nasty fall down the stairs, this is a must have for children until they become proficient at going up and down on their own.

Helmets are your best bet- whether your biking, skateboarding, or doing any activity that leaves your head venerable, you and your child should wear a helmet at all times. Wearing a helmet when biking reduces your risk of a brain injury by 85%.

Know the signs of a concussion- as much as we can do to try to avoid it, falls do happen with little ones. Be sure to know the signs and symptoms of a concussion and what to do if you suspect one.

WATER SAFETY

Water safety is an issue for all ages. Drowning is the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 1-14. Staying safe in the water takes vigilance by parents and a few rules for the kids:

Always supervise your child- injuries and drowning can happen in an instant. Even if your child is what you consider a good swimmer, never leave them unattended. It is best to swim where a lifeguard is present, however, you are still the best guardian for your child’s safety.

Know your environment- Swimming in a pool is much different then swimming in a lake or river. Currents require more strength, and even the most unsuspecting lake can have an undertow. Never dive in an unfamiliar area.

Watch for safe play- Don’t let children play around drains or suction fittings found in may water parks. Never allow children to push, or jump on others. Children have different skill levels when it comes to swimming, and excessive horse play can turn a fun day at the pool into a trip to the ER.

Get them swimming lessons- Swimming lessons do not make your child ‘drown-proof’, but they do help them to get the skills they need to be as safe in the water as possible.

Use a lifejacket- This is particularly important in natural water areas such as lakes and rivers where over ˝ of drowning deaths could be prevented with the use of lifejackets.

Visit H2O Smartz with your children for a full list of summer water safety tips.

GENERAL SUMMER SAFETY

Stay safe in the sun- always apply a SPF 15 or higher sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection. Know that you must re-apply every 80 minutes for most products.

Stay cool- avoid heat related illnesses by staying indoors during the hottest parts of the day and staying hydrated throughout the day.

CPR- If you have not already done so, get trained in CPR. Hopefully, you will never use it, but if you need it, it may save a life.

1st aide and emergency numbers- Always travel with a 1st aid kit whenever possible and keep emergency numbers on hand. It’s great to keep a list inside your 1st aid kit in case you are unable to access the contacts on your personal device. If you suspect you or your child are in danger, seek medical attention immediately.