Summer is typically a joyous time full of things to celebrate. The season brings with it lots of time outdoors, cookouts, and participating in sports or other physical activities. But the downside of summer is the increased risk of injury. Learning about summer injury prevention will help keep you and your family safe this season.
“Families can enjoy all that summer has to offer while staying safe by taking easy, practical steps to limit accidents and environmental exposures,” says Sean Thompson, medical director of pediatric medicine at Riley Children’s Health at IU Health North. “Our team in the emergency department is happy to take care of any child who needs us, but ultimately, we hope for every child to have an injury-free, fun summer!”
Preventing the Top Childhood Summertime Injuries
Thompson says that one of the top ways that children injure themselves during the summer is due to that Fourth of July favorite: fireworks.
“Some of the most serious injuries we see are burns or eye injuries related to fireworks,” Thompson says.
He suggests enjoying public firework displays, rather than using fireworks at home. “If you do your own fireworks, only adults should be using fireworks and they should not be accessible by children,” Thompson says.
Swimming and water-related accidents also rank as one of the top ways that kids can find themselves in the emergency department during the summer.
“Water provides so much enjoyment but requires constant vigilance,” Thompson says. “Avoid distraction and maintain close supervision when your child is in or around water. Provide ‘touch supervision’: any child under 5 should be within an arm’s reach of an adult. Young children can drown in as little as 2 inches of water.”
Playground visits happen more often during the summer, too. Thompson suggests that good supervision and ensuring playground equipment is safe and used correctly will prevent most serious playground injuries.
And no matter the season: Be sure your child is wearing protective gear when riding bicycles, scooters, skateboards or anything with wheels. “The highest priority is a helmet,” Thompson says. “Protect their brains. Helmets work!”
More Summertime Safety Tips
Summertime means more time in the sun, more encounters with insects and more exposure to the elements. What are some ways that parents can protect their children from non-accident-related summertime woes? Thompson offers these tips:
- Use insect repellant to limit mosquito bites and repel ticks, and wear long sleeves and pants if the weather permits.
- Check hair and skin for ticks after being in the woods, high grasses or bushes.
- Apply sunscreen every day, even on cloudy days. Reapply every two hours or after being in the water. If possible, dress children in UPF clothing.
- Have your child wear a hat when outdoors in the sun.
- Never leave a child in a car by themselves for ANY amount of time.
- Offer water every 20 minutes while outside.
- Provide frequent breaks in the shade.