Summer Safety for Kids
Keeping your kids safe is the best way for them (and you) to enjoy the summertime.
There’s nothing quite like summer fun. Whether it’s playing in the yard, swimming, bike riding, or sitting around a campfire, children love being outdoors. And while the living may be easy, it’s good to be prepared for the potential dangers that summertime can bring.
Kids need adult supervision around water at all times. Drowning is the leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1 to 4, and three children die every day as a result of drowning. Teaching your children to swim is essential. Make sure kids use lifejackets in lakes and oceans and when on boats.
Be Sun Smart
Sunscreen is a must for everyone, kids and adults, when you spend time outdoors. Use a brand with an SPF of 15 or higher. Wearing lightweight, light-colored clothing and hats also protects from ultraviolet rays. Also, beware of the heat. Young and healthy children can get sick from the heat. Drink more fluids and limit strenuous activity when in the heat. And never leave a child in a closed, parked vehicle.
Keep the Bugs (& Bees) Off
Keep kids safe from bites by using insect repellent on exposed skin and clothing and making sure long pants and long-sleeve shirts are used in wooded or heavily grassed areas. Most repellents are safe for children of all ages; just follow the directions on the package. Perform tick checks after any time is spent outdoors, and learn how to properly remove a tick from the body.
Fires and Burns
As much as children might want to help you cook, the heat and flames from outdoor grills pose serious risk for children. It’s best to keep them away. Kids also should be supervised around a campfire or fire pit at all times. And while fireworks may be hard for kids to resist, they can be deadly. Keep fireworks in the hands of adults.
Rashes & Poisonous Plants
The best way to keep safe from poison ivy, oak, or sumac is to teach kids what these plants look like and avoid them. If exposure does occur, it’s best to rinse the skin with plenty of rubbing alcohol or degreasing soap (dish detergent) and plenty of water. Avoid itching and spreading the oil from the plants. If severe rashes or allergic reactions occur, especially on the face or near the eyes, go to the emergency room.
Helmets and Proper Gear
Kids love bikes, scooters, and skateboards. But traumatic brain injuries can easily occur with any blow or bump to the head. Make sure kids wear a properly fitted helmet when they are “on wheels” and also use appropriate protective equipment and clothing.
New Hampshire allows children to operate ATVs or off-road vehicles on public property or trails when accompanied by an adult. Children, however, are involved in about 30 percent of all ATV-related deaths and emergency room-treated injuries. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under 16 do not operate ATVs or off-road vehicles.
First Aid Kit
Every family should have a first aid kit at home or when traveling. Treating minor cuts, scraps, bites, or burns immediately is essential to child health. But also make sure you keep emergency numbers for doctors, poison control, or other important contacts in your kit if more serious injuries occur. Call 911 immediately for more crucial or life-threatening injuries.
For more information about pediatric care or to make an appointment, call 603-788-5095.
by Jayne Tarkelson, DO
Jayne Tarkelson is a pediatric primary care provider at Weeks Medical Center.