Schools are finishing up and the temperature is rising (hopefully). Dr David Foley offers tips on how parents can keep children safe this summer.
1 Falls and limb injuries…
Many fall injuries occur in playgrounds. Falls are the most common cause of non-life-threatening injuries in children and young adults. This age group may not have a full realisation of risk and they have an adventurous spirit. For this reason, waiting rooms are often full of young people with lacerations, abrasions, and broken or fractured bones.
Adult supervision is always recommended for children, as is proper safety equipment, such as cycling helmets and kneepads, which may help reduce the more serious types of injuries.
2 Sun damage, even in Ireland…
While most sunburns don’t require a trip to the hospital, some do. Go to the doctor if your sunburn is accompanied by nausea, headache or extreme pain. Sun cream (factor 15+) should be used every day and especially watch out for the children you’re supervising, since they’re unlikely to remember to apply lotion.
Paying special attention as the days become longer and the sun’s rays seem stronger, parents should be sure to apply sun cream to their children regularly when enjoying outdoor activities.
Children who play outside often can be exposed to an average of three times more sun exposure than adults. The skin of a child can be more sensitive than that of an adult, and overexposure to the sun as a child can lead to skin cancer later in life. It’s important to stay mindful of the temperature, stay hydrated and avoid being outside for prolonged periods of time if the temperature is hot, especially during the hottest time of the day.
3 Swimming trauma…
We see a big spike in the amount of swimming-related injuries. Usually it’s caused from trauma related to jumping into the water, children not being supervised and boating accidents. Warmer weather also brings an increased risk of drowning from swimming in unfamiliar places or unaccompanied.
Drowning is the leading cause of fatal injury in the toddler age-group and public education and vigilance remain the backbone of prevention.The website watersafety.ie is an excellent resource for advice and practical interventions, which can help increase awareness of the dangers of water and how we can reduce them. It’s so easy for a child to fall into a swimming pool without someone realising, so if you’re at a pool, always have a designated adult to supervise water activities.
Last, but not least, remember that the summer is a time for fun. All activities – from biking to swimming to playing sports – should be embraced and enjoyed by children. Taking precautions and understanding hazards can allow kids to enjoy the summer without the risk of serious injury.
Dr David Foley, Consultant in Emergency Medicine and Medical Director of Affidea ExpressCare Clinics.
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