Summer Safety Tips: An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure

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Summer Safety Tips: An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure

Dr Mason Gomberg, Westchester Health Pediatrics

Mason Gomberg, MD

Summer is a great time when the weather warms up and kids and families spend more time outdoors. Outdoor activities allow for more physical activity but parents need to know how to keep their children safe.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), injuries are the leading  cause of deaths in children and a child is treated in an emergency room every 4 seconds. So an ounce of prevention will lead to a happier and healthier family.

Helmets: an absolute necessity

Helmets should always be a requirement for any cycling, skateboarding, rollerblading, kayaking or whitewater rafting activity. Parents should lead by example and also wear a helmet. The head gear should be well-fitted to prevent head injuries and concussions.

Knee pads  and arm guards should also be used to prevent injuries to the extremities. The use of trampolines is another outside activity that should be supervised and an enclosure surrounding the unit will help prevent injuries.

The leading cause of deaths from injury in children ages 1-4  is from drowning.

All pools should be fenced in and an alarm system should be in place at a private home. There should always be parental supervision whenever any child or teen is swimming. If you are having a party, it may be wise also to hire a lifeguard.

Formal swimming lessons  have shown to decrease the risk of drowning and can be started between the ages of 2 and 3. Even though a child has a flotation device, he/she still needs to be supervised. Small bodies of water can also be dangerous, as well as bodies of standing water (which are breeding grounds for mosquitoes and West Nile virus and should regularly be drained).

Summer brings the risk of burns, not only from the sun but from outdoor grills and campfires.

Make sure there is a wide area around the grill or campfire when children are playing. Ashes stay hot even when the fire is out and can lead to burns if not careful. Also, never leave the area until all fires are out and cold.

Children should never play on or around a lawn mower while in use. They can be burned by a hot engine or injured by the blades if they get too close or an item gets tangled under the mower. Also, an item can be flung out like a projectile.

All parents, teens and children above the age of 6 months should use sunblock with an SPF of 15 or higher.

A bit of prevention can lead to more fun outside and less time in the ER or doctor’s office.

  • Remind your children not to go up to strangers, either on foot or in a car. They should be taught to run away and start screaming for help. Parental supervision is the best precaution to ward off strangers. With the ice cream trucks coming to our streets and parks, children need to learn not to run to the truck without looking for oncoming traffic.
  • Every parent needs to teach their children not to run after a ball that goes into the street.
  • Kids should always have their feet covered, especially in the street (broken glass) and on wooden decks (splintered wood).
  • Open windows  used for ventilation also attract children to feel the breeze. If there are no window guards, children have been know to fall out, especially from high-rise apartments or the second or third floors of single family homes.

Have a happy and healthy summer!

By Mason Gomberg, MD, a pediatrician with Westchester Health Pediatrics

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