As a pediatric nurse, and mom, summer can bring its own set of unwanted stress and worries of keeping your kids safe. With the arrival of summer, children eagerly embark on outdoor adventures and engage in various recreational activities. However, along with all the fun and excitement, the risk of injuries increases. As a result, emergency rooms across the country witness an influx of young patients during the summer months. If you feel like your child is more likely to have an accident that requires medical attention in the summer months, you are not alone. Below I have outlined some of the most common injuries seen in the emergency room for kids during summer. These include:
- Traumatic Injuries
- Heat Exhaustion
While enjoying the summer fun, it's crucial to prioritize safety and prevent unforeseen visits to the emergency room. Opportunities for kids to participate in outdoor sports and activities, leads to an increased risk of traumatic injuries. Common injuries include lacerations, fractures, sprains, strains, and concussions. Falls from bicycles, ATV’s, skateboards, playground equipment, and trampolines are frequent culprits. To prevent such injuries, it is imperative to ensure children wear the appropriate protective gear, such as helmets, knee pads, and elbow pads. Adult supervision, especially during high-risk activities, is also essential to minimize the chances of accidents.
The scorching summer sun poses a significant risk of heat exhaustion, particularly during prolonged outdoor activities or sports. Children engaged in activities like hiking, soccer, track and field, or summer camps can easily become dehydrated and overheated. What does heat exhaustion look like in children? Heat exhaustion symptoms include excessive sweating, dizziness, nausea, headache, confusion, and muscle cramps. To prevent heat-related illnesses, it is vital to encourage children to drink plenty of fluids, wear lightweight and breathable clothing, take regular breaks in shaded areas, and avoid intense physical activity during the hottest parts of the day.
Summer months witness a surge in burn-related injuries among children. What causes this? These are often caused by exposure to hot surfaces, fire, or improper handling of fireworks. Campfires, barbecues, and fireworks displays can all be sources of burns if children are not adequately supervised. It is important to educate your children about the dangers of fire and hot objects. Establish clear safety rules and ensure they understand the importance of seeking adult supervision. Installing proper fire safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and fire-resistant materials, can also help prevent burn injuries.
Swimming pools, lakes, and oceans offer refreshing relief from the summer heat, but they also pose a significant drowning risk for children. Did you know that drowning is the _____ leading cause of death for children in the United States? Lack of supervision, inadequate swimming skills, or absence of protective measures are common factors contributing to drowning incidents. Taking extra safety steps at home and around water can prevent drowning incidents. Parents and caregivers should always supervise children near water, ensuring they are within arm's reach. Enrolling children in swimming lessons and teaching them water safety practices can significantly reduce the risk of drowning. Moreover, installing pool fences, using life jackets, and educating children about the dangers of swimming alone are crucial preventive measures.
Gastroenteritis, commonly known as stomach flu, is prevalent among children during the summer months. It is often caused by consuming contaminated food or water, especially during picnics, barbecues, or while traveling. The warmer temps make it much easier for bacteria to grow on food. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and fever. To prevent gastroenteritis, it is important to teach your children about proper hand hygiene, such as frequent handwashing with soap and water. It is also advisable to avoid consuming uncooked or undercooked food, and to ensure proper food storage and preparation to minimize the risk of bacterial contamination.
As summer rolls around and children indulge in outdoor activities, it is essential to be aware of the potential injuries our children may face. Traumatic injuries, heat exhaustion, burns, drowning, and gastroenteritis are among the top concerns seen in the emergency room for kids during the summer months. By implementing preventive measures, and being aware of these things, you can help your child have a safer, and trauma-free summer as well as a little less stress for you!
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