Summer Safety Tips for Kids

June 29, 2012

Summer is here and children are looking forward to long sunny days filled with warm weather activities and vacation fun. Minnesota Valley Health Center (MVHC) encourages safety awareness and pre-planning to avoid a trip to the emergency room.

 “Participating in summer sports and community programs are great ways to keep kids active and involved,” says Roxanne Portner, RN, MVHC Infection Control & Education Coordinator. “Without proper precautions, however, families may find themselves making an unexpected trip to the ER.” 

According to Portner, the best way to avoid summertime injury or illness is to make sure kids have the correct equipment and plenty of drinking water. 

“A properly-fitted mouth guard and helmet can mean the difference between having a fun day at the ball field and sustaining an injury,” she says. “To ward off dehydration, have water bottles handy and try to avoid outdoor play during the hottest part of the day. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection and take frequent breaks to cool off.”

 Symptoms of dehydration include thirst, dry mouth, loss of appetite, dark-colored urine, fatigue, weakness, and chills. Seek medical attention if increased heart rate, muscle cramps, headache or nausea occur, as these are signs of advanced dehydration.

Portner notes that burns are also the cause of many summertime emergency room visits. While campfires and grills are often the cause, the Fourth of July brings its own type of burn injuries – some severe.

 “According to the Center for Disease Control, 435 children ages 0-19 are treated in an emergency room, for burn-related injuries on a daily basis,” Portner says. “That number skyrockets in the weeks surrounding the Fourth of July because of fireworks-related injuries. It’s best to avoid sparklers and other forms of fireworks altogether. Enjoy the local displays and stay safe.”

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