The summer months are officially here. That means hours of children playing in the sun, cookouts with friends and family – and the potential for common summertime injuries. The summer season …
The summer months are officially here. That means hours of children playing in the sun, cookouts with friends and family – and the potential for common summertime injuries. The summer season sees millions of emergency room visits by children 14 and younger due to unintentional injuries.
It’s important for parents and children to understand what types of injuries can occur during the summer and how to prevent them.
Dehydration occurs when a child loses so much body fluid that they can no longer maintain ordinary function. Oftentimes, children are having so much fun, they forget to drink fluids during prolonged outside activity. It’s important for parents to mandate water breaks, limit caffeine intake and monitor the amount of time spent in the sun. Electrolyte solutions like juice boxes and Gatorade are great options to recharge your child’s electrolytes and prevent dehydration. While it may seem odd, children who are swimming for long periods of time need to drink plenty of fluids too. Even though they’re playing in the water, they’re still out in the heat and losing water from the physicality of swimming.
Summers can be pretty brutal in Tennessee with temperatures in the 90s and high humidity. It’s important to remember children are at higher risk for heat-related illnesses than adults. On average, their bodies heat up 3-5 times faster than those of full-grown adults. Long exposure to high temperatures and humidity can cause heat exhaustion, which can lead to dangerous heat stroke if not treated promptly. Signs of a heat stroke include severe headaches, confusion, slurred speech, fast heart rate, loss of consciousness, seizures and elevated body temperature. If your child is suffering from heatstroke, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Bites and Stings
Wildlife and sometimes pets can bite children who get too close. If bitten by an animal, clean the wound gently and monitor for 24 hours. If it begins to show signs of infection, call your doctor. As the weather gets warmer, ticks and mosquitoes come out in droves. It’s important to be aware of the illnesses these insects carry such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and the West Nile virus. To help protect children, use DEET-containing bug repellents on children ages 2 months and older. Additionally, check for abnormal bug bites and ticks after playing in wooded areas and grassy fields. If your child has been bitten or stung, apply an ice pack to reduce the swelling and rub hydrocortisone cream to soothe the itching.
Bites and stings can be deadly if your child is allergic. If swelling and itching stays local to the bite, monitor for 24 hours. Symptoms that require immediate medical attention after a bite or sting include swelling in other parts of the body, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting.
Campfires and fireworks pose dangerous burn risks for children. Hot embers can get kicked up during campfires and faulty fireworks can explode close to the body while trying to light them and cause severe burns. Parental supervision is highly encouraged when children are engaged in these activities, and protective gear such as close-toed shoes, long clothing and eyewear is advised.
Every year in the United States, there’s an estimated 3,960 fatal unintentional drownings. The majority of drownings occur in the summertime and happen to children who are toddler age or those who do not know how to swim. Older children are at risk of drowning when they become fatigued or take a severe hit to the head while playing. It’s essential for parents to supervise their children around pools, lakes and other bodies of water.
This summer, remember to enjoy outdoor activities safely and take preventive steps to reduce your children’s risk of injury