Dr. Tres Scherer, director of pediatric trauma services at Riley Hospital for Children, offers important tips to keep your family safe this summer.
What are the most common injuries you see in kids over the summer?
At Riley Hospital, we unfortunately see more injured kids in the summer because they’re out of school and the weather is more conducive to being outdoors and active. The most common injuries we see result from bicycle, pedestrian and motor vehicle accidents, fireworks, lawn mowers and falling out of windows.
Are there hidden dangers to summer fun that people often don’t think about?
Parents always need to be aware of the environment in which their children are playing and pay attention. A lot of the bicycle, pedestrian, motor vehicle and lawn mower accidents result from kids playing where they shouldn’t and from fatigued drivers. Something else parents don’t often realize is that younger kids haven’t developed depth perception yet and they can have a tough time determining how far away a hazard is and whether they are safe. Parents also need to look for potential dangers around the house. We see a number of incidents every year, where children fall from windows that were open to provide relief from the heat.
What are the most important things to remember about fireworks?
We always see fireworks injuries the week before and the week after the Fourth of July. First and foremost, adult supervision is a must. Kids should never play with or operate fireworks. Fireworks should be set off in an open area and children should be kept 25-50 feet away. It’s also a good idea to have a hose or some sort of water source nearby to extinguish any fires.
What should parents and kids know about bicycles?
Adults and kids alike should always wear helmets. Studies have shown that helmets can reduce severe head injuries by as much as 85 percent and the risk of brain injury by as much as 88 percent. It’s also important for a child to have a good working knowledge of his or her bike and that children know the rules of the road. Many of the bicycle accidents result from lack of attention and it can take a while for automobile drivers to remember that kids are out of school and out and about.
How do you keep kids safe in the heat and sun?
Protective clothing and sunscreen, no matter your complexion, are important. If and when you can, limiting the amount of time your kids spend in the sun is a good idea. The heat index is also key. When the heat index reaches or exceeds 90 degrees, parents need to take precautions, including shade, hydration and rest, to keep their kids safe. Don’t forget how easy it is to become dehydrated in the sun.
For more summer safety tips, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics at www.aap.org.
Pay attention to surroundings
Wear a helmet
Stay away from fireworks