Summer Safety Tips for Kids | UnityPoint Health - Des Moines

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Summer Safety Tips for Kids (Infographic)

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From boating to picnics, summer offers the perfect time to get outdoors with your kids. Medical professionals also know summer as trauma season due to increased occurrence of serious injuries among children. Many parents do not realize that these unintentional injuries are the No. 1 cause of death in children age 14 and under. Nearly 30 million children in the United States were hospitalized in 2010 due to unintentional injury. Of these, 120,859 ended in death. Educating parents and children about summer safety can dramatically decrease these incidents. Check out these Summer Safety Tips for Kids to learn how you can help reduce your child's risk while still enjoying summer.

Summer Safety Infographic

Tips to Keep Kids Safe this Summer

Water Safety

Water Safety is more important than ever during the summer months.
  • Supervise swimming pools – 9 out of 10 fatal accidents occur during a brief lapse in supervision, so limit children’s unsupervised access to swimming pools and spas. In addition, installing a proper isolation fence is encouraged.
  • Wear a life jacket - Stressing the importance of wearing a life jacket when swimming in open bodies of water is crucial as currents, undertows and other hazards that hide below the surface increase the risk of drowning.
  • Teach children how to utilize items, such as a towel, to assist a friend who is having trouble swimming to the side. It is recommended that children begin swimming lessons at the age of four and learn not to dive into water that is less than nine feet deep.

Bike Safety

Bicycle and wheeled sports injuries are associated with more childhood injuries than any other product except automobiles.
  • Wear a helmet – A helmet is the single best way to reduce the severity of a head injury and the likelihood of death. In fact, helmets have been shown to decrease the risk of head injury by 85 percent.
  • Teach children the rules of the road, including how to obey all traffic laws and where it is safe to bike and use other wheeled items, like skateboards and rollerblades. It is also important to show them the proper way to wear and adjust their helmet.

Sun Safety

Sun protection not only defends kids from the discomfort of sunburn today, but could also prevent skin cancer later.
  • Sunscreen for all skin types – Even if a child doesn’t burn easily, applying sunscreen is still important. Sunburn is an immediate reaction, but sun damage occurs over a lifetime. Although skin cancer is more prevalent in people with lighter skin, it does not discriminate and can still affect those with darker skin.
  • Choose the right sunscreen – Always purchase a sunscreen that has at least SPF 30 and boasts broad-spectrum, or full-spectrum, protection, which is designed to protect from both UVA and UVB rays.

Extreme Temperature Safety

Hydration is important to keep kids from overheating.
  • Keep water on hand – No matter how long you plan to be outdoors, pack water to reduce the risk of heat-related illness.
  • Never leave kids in the car – In addition to staying hydrated, never leave kids in the car, even with the windows cracked. Children are more susceptible to heat illnesses than adults, and even a few minutes in a hot car is not safe.
  • Teach children to take a break in the shade or air conditioning every couple hours, or more if they are feeling faint, and to drink plenty of water.

Bug Safety

Protecting children from harmful bug bites and stings is important as they can spread diseases, such as West Nile Virus and Lyme disease.
  • Utilizing bug repellent - Insect repellent with either DEET or Picardin as an active ingredient will last the longest, but you can also utilize a natural insect repellent, such as citronella.
  • Wear light clothing - In addition to keeping children cooler, light colored clothing will help expose ticks or other bugs. Parents should avoid dressing children in bright colors or flowery prints as these attract bugs.
  • Teach children how to check for ticks under their arms, between the legs, around the waist and especially along the hairline and scalp.

Food Safety

Food poisoning is more of an issue during summer months as warm temperatures can increase the growth of dangerous bacteria, viruses, parasites and other toxins.
  • Keep foods cool – Never let foods containing mayonnaise, milk, eggs, meat, poultry or seafood sit at room temperature for more than two hours, and no more than an hour if it is above 90 degrees outside.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables – In addition, washing and storing raw fruits and vegetables properly is important to avoid food-borne illnesses.
  • Teach children not to consume dairy, meat or egg products if they have been left out of the fridge or on a table for more than two hours. Also, show them how to pack meat and ready-to-eat foods separately.
In addition to these tips, parents and caregivers should actively supervise children when engaging in summer activities, especially when swimming and enjoying the playground. In the event that an accident or injury does occur, you can depend on the expertise of UnityPoint Health – Des Moines Urgent Care (for non-emergency situations) and Emergency Care (for medical emergencies) to provide the best possible care for your family, no matter what time the accident occurs.