Oklahomans are deep into the summer. With longer days and warm temperatures, many families are motivated to get outside and enjoy seasonal activities. But in addition to all the outdoor fun, there is also a risk of injury. INTEGRIS Health wants your child to have a healthy and safe summer.
Vibitha Mani, MD, a board-certified pediatrician at INTEGRIS Family Care Council Crossing, narrowed down a list of the most common summer-related injuries in children that are predictable and preventable.
While falling is a normal part of children’s growth and development, Mani says there are certain measures parents can take to prevent injuries.
Bicycles, skateboards and scooters: Children should wear appropriate safety equipment such as helmets, elbow/knee pads and/or wrist guards.
Trampolines: Make sure they are properly maintained and have proper adult supervision.
Play areas: Check the area for security risks. Keep an eye out for rusty or broken playground equipment and uneven surfaces. Mani advises parents to “find playgrounds scattered with more cushioning material like mulch or shredded tires instead of concrete.”
Insect bites and stings
Children over two months of age may use DEET-containing insect repellent. For simple bites/stings, wash the affected area with soap and warm water. If a child has bites or stings with itching/swelling, they can take over-the-counter antihistamines, such as cetirizine (Zyrtec). Seek immediate medical attention if your child has symptoms such as swelling of the lips, itchy throat, swelling of the face, wheezing, difficulty breathing, blue lips, severe hives around the affected area.
Avoid burns caused by an explosion of natural gas, propane, gasoline or other flammable liquids. Close adult supervision near fire and fireworks can stop most of these occurrences. Sunscreen: Avoid direct sunlight, especially for infants under six months of age. Find shady areas and keep children in protective lightweight clothing that covers arms and legs and/or hats. Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapply every two hours or after swimming/sweating.
Parents and guardians should never be out of reach of a child in water, whether at home near bathtubs or buckets, by the pool or at the beach. As a group, assign an adult to supervise and watch the water without distraction. Teach kids survival swimming. Younger children who cannot swim should wear well-fitting life jackets approved by the US Coast Guard. The pool should be separated from your property by a non-climbable fence with a self-closing and self-locking gate.
“The most important thing,” Mani encourages, “if families are concerned or unsure about the severity of the injury, take the child to their doctor. If it’s nothing, parents have some peace of mind. the child receive the proper care it needs.”