Tags: In This Issue, Kids, Parenting, Pediatric Health
While summer brings plenty of opportunities for fun, unfortunately the possibility of serious injury or illness comes with it. Don't let a trip to the emergency room derail your summer plans! Below, local experts provide tips to help keep your family safe this season.
Children should always be supervised while swimming, says Susan L. Davis, M.D., FAAP, a pediatrician at Carmel Pediatrics. As for flotation aids such as arm floaties and inner tubes, she says, "parents need to realize that those are not safety devices and not depend on them."
Families with a pool can keep the area safer by using features such as a fence, pool cover, motion-sensing alarm near the pool and door locks and alarms, suggests Dr. Davis. Toys and other items that would attract a child should be kept out of the pool.
Parents and children should always wear helmets when riding bikes, even if they're just on their own driveway, says Randall D. Stoesz, M.D., FAAP, also a pediatrician at Carmel Pediatrics. Dr. Stoesz says parents should look for a helmet with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) stamp of approval. A bike shop can help ensure a proper fit. "It costs a little bit of money to get a helmet," says Dr. Stoesz, "but a trip to the ER is also costly in many ways, so it's definitely worth the investment."
Parents should teach young bikers to follow the rules of the road regarding biking with traffic, stopping at all intersections and signaling, says Dr. Stoesz. "You have to be really defensive when you're on a bike." Riders should avoid floppy, loose-fitting clothing and riding barefoot.
As temperatures rise, so does the potential for injuries such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. "Remember that Kids need to be hydrated," says Dr. Davis. "Even if they're in the water they're sweating a lot."
To guard against sunburn, Dr. Davis recommends sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. "The key is just to keep reapplying," she says. Parents should also provide plenty of shady play areas and try to keep kids out of the sun when it is highest in the sky.
Lieutenant Tracy Rumble, Public Educator for the Greenwood Fire Department, recommends parents keep a first-aid kit on hand this summer. In addition to basic supplies, it should include items related to family-specific allergies or medical conditions.
A person witnessing an emergency situation this summer should immediately call 911. "The quicker you can call us, the quicker we can get rolling," says Lt. Rumble. The caller should try to keep the injured person calm and follow any instructions given.
Browse the American Academy of Pediatrics' parent-friendly website www.healthychildren.org for more safety tips. Then have a safe, fun and happy summer!