Summer Safety Tips for Kids from Blank Children's Hospital

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Summer Safety Tips for Kids

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Kids swimming

We love summer because it presents great opportunities to spend more time outdoors, but with warmer weather and increased activity, parents should remember that the summer months also present a new set of potential dangers – especially to children. The National Safe Kids Campaign estimates that every year, one in four kids ages 14 and younger will sustain an injury that requires medical attention. While 40 percent of emergency room visits happen between May and August, the good news is, we can prevent about 90 percent of these accidents by teaching ourselves and our kids how to stay safe, without sacrificing the summer fun!

Sun Safety

The American Cancer Society estimates that 3.5 million Americans develop non-melanoma skin cancer each year. This illustrates the importance of educating children early in life regarding life-long sun safety practices. Since nearly 23 percent of lifetime sun exposure occurs before the age of 18, implementing sun safety early on is key to preventing future health problems. Here are some skin-protecting reminders:

  • Avoid sun exposure during peak sun hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) by staying in the shade or scheduling outdoor activities for morning and evenings.

  • Wear sunscreen and lip balm with broad-spectrum protection (UVA/UVB) and a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Apply a generous amount (2 tablespoons or about the size of a golf ball) of sunscreen to unprotected skin a half hour before going outdoors. Reapply every two hours after swimming, drying off with a towel or sweating.

  • Wear protective clothing - a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection.

  • Talk to your teen about the dangers of “laying out” to tan or visiting the tanning salon. Both practices are unsafe, leading to increased risk of skin cancer, wrinkles, blemishes and age spots later in life.

Water Safety

Drowning accounts for more deaths among children ages one to four than any other cause besides birth defects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Keep your children safe from accidents and injury in the water by:

  • Never leaving a child unattended near water - do not trust a child’s life to another child and always designate an adult supervisor to constantly keep a watchful eye.

  • Swimming only in designated areas where children are easily visible by lifeguards and adult supervisors.

  • Enrolling children in age-appropriate swim classes to ensure everyone in the family learns to swim well.

  • Having young children wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets that are properly fitted whenever around water. Everyone (parents included) should wear a life jacket when boating.

Playground Safety

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates more than 205,000 children visit emergency rooms with playground-related injuries every year – many of which could be prevented with a little precaution and adult supervision. Review these tips below:

  • Supervise children at all times while on playground equipment.

  • Check to make sure playground equipment has safe, soft and well-maintained surfaces. Playgrounds with shock-absorbing surfaces such as rubber, synthetic turf, sand, pea gravel, wood chips and mulch can help cushion falls better than asphalt, concrete, grass or dirt.

  • Remove helmets, necklaces, purses, scarves or clothing with drawstrings that might get caught on equipment.

  • Teach children that crowding, pushing and shoving on the playground is dangerous.

Bicycle Safety

Safe Kids Worldwide reports bicycle injuries as the second leading injury caused by a consumer product in children – only automobiles cause more childhood injuries. However, riding bicycles can be a fun and safe form of exercise when you implement the following:

  • Wear a helmet every bike ride, no matter how short or close to home. A helmet should be worn level on the head to cover the forehead (not tilted backwards or forward). The helmet strap should be fastened with about an inch of space between chin and strap.

  • Buy helmets with a label or sticker indicating they meet the CPSC safety standard.

  • Do not push your child to ride a two-wheeled bicycle until he or she is ready. When your child is ready, make sure to take him or her to get a bike from a shop where it can be property fitted (versus surprising your child with one).

  • Stick with foot brakes, rather than hand brakes, until your child is older and more experienced at riding a bike.

Hot Weather Safety

Did you know children overheat three to five times faster than adults? Those at greatest risk for heat-related illness include infants and children up to four years of age. Help your child beat the heat by implementing the following:

  • Reduce intensity of activities lasting more than 15 minutes in the presence of extreme heat or humidity.

  • Take a drink break (preferably water) every 20 minutes while active in the heat.

  • Wear light-colored, lightweight clothing made of absorbent materials to aid the evaporation of sweat.

  • Never leave a child unattended in or around a vehicle, even if you will be gone for only a few minutes. Leaving a child alone in a hot car can lead to a potentially fatal heatstroke.

Fireworks Safety

Fireworks-related injuries cause 200 children and adults to go to the emergency room each day in the month around the July 4th holiday, reports the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. If you plan to see fireworks this July, make sure to follow these guidelines:

  • Never allow a child to play with or ignite fireworks.

  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully ignited.

  • If you decide to give a child a sparkler, make sure to keep it outside and away from the face, clothing and hair. Sparklers can reach 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to melt gold.

  • Do not allow children to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event.

  • Attend community fireworks displays run by professionals, instead of using fireworks at home.

Remember that summer safety starts with you! Set an example for your children by following these summer safety tips yourself. It’s the good way to promote safety for the entire family this summer season and beyond!

Injury Treatment at Blank Children’s Hospital

As the only children’s hospital in Iowa, Blank Children’s Hospital caters to kids in a way that is unique and meets their physical, developmental and emotional needs. From using medical equipment made specially for children to providing actives and a relaxed atmosphere that helps calm them, Blank Children’s Hospital works to provide kids the best possible care in the best environment for them. 

If your child suffers from a medical emergency, depend on our verified Level II Pediatric Trauma Center to provide the best possible care for your child, no matter what time the accident occurs.