During the summer, children are more prone to injuries. They are out of school, playing outside, swimming, and generally more active. So along with school vacation and warm weather comes an extra dose of responsibility for parents and caregivers.
According to the 2007 Safe Kids US Summer Safety Ranking Report, summer is also known as “trauma season” among medical professionals in the United States because unintentional deaths and serious injuries increase dramatically among children.
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, one of the country’s leading pediatric healthcare systems, advises adults to take precautions so their kids can have a fun and safe summer vacation. Deirdre Stewart, M.D., board certified pediatrician with the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Immediate Care Centers sees a variety of injuries in children ranging from mild to life-threatening during the hot summer months.
“At the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Immediate Care Centers in the summer, we see more injuries like cuts (lacerations), sprains and fractures. These are often due to children playing outside more, riding bikes or scooters, and participating in sports/activities,” Dr. Stewart says.
She encourages parents to be vigilant with safety measures and to be aware of their activities, no matter the age of the children. “Parents can help prevent these types of accidents by requiring their children to wear bike helmets and appropriate pads. Supervise children while they are playing in groups.”
Water safety is also a big summer issue parents need to focus on. Dr. Stewart wants parents to know, even kids who know how to swim are at risk for drowning. She tells patient’s parents to always be cautious “around pools and lakes, especially when children are in groups.” She encourages parents to “have at least one adult be the "Water Watcher" so someone is always responsible for overseeing children playing in the water.
Being careful and having fun are two things that can go together. Parents should not assume their children know what is dangerous and what is not, and should always be on the lookout for situations that may create problems down the road.
But don’t keep the kids in a bubble! Send them outside, take them to the pool, sign them up for soccer camp, just take the necessary precautions and hope for the best. And, it doesn’t hurt to know the location of the nearest children’s hospital and have the pediatrician’s phone number on speed dial.
Preventing summer injuries in children
Safe Kids US Summer Safety Report:
Personal interview with Deirdre Stewart, M.D.
Reviewed August 1, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Shannon Koehle