Once school is out for the summer, thousands of children are sent to hospital emergency rooms and doctors’ offices each year due to outdoor recreational injuries. Summertime activities pose a variety of injury risks to kids of all ages.
Summertime Accidents and Injuries
Hot weather and summer activities contribute to many serious accidents and injuries for children. Every year, hospital emergency rooms are filled with kids who suffer injuries in swimming pools and local lakes, on bicycles, skateboards, and trampolines, from falls, firecrackers, sunburns, and insect bites. When the school year is over, kids love to spend their time outdoors with all types of recreational activities. While adults have their share of summertime accidents and injuries, kids experience many more. Summer is often referred to as “the trauma season” by hospital emergency rooms because of the high number of traumatic injuries that happen to children every summer. The five most common types of injuries that send kids to the ER include:
Swimming is a great way to beat the summer heat, but there are a lot ways for kids to get injured. While adults are more likely to drown in lakes and natural bodies of water, small children and young teens are more likely to drown in swimming pools. Approximately five percent of all spinal cord injuries to young children are caused by diving accidents. To prevent pool injuries and drowning deaths, children should always be supervised by a parent or adult when swimming. Accidental drowning is the leading cause of death for kids between the ages of one and five.
Bicycles, Skateboards and Roller Blades
When summer arrives, kids are very likely to be outdoors on their bicycles, skateboards, and roller blades enjoying the sunshine. These activities are fun for kids, but they cause thousands of serious injuries including sprained ankles, fractured wrists, broken arms and legs, and concussions and head injuries. For maximum safety, bicycles, skateboards, and roller blades should not be used without protective helmets, elbow pads, and knee pads. Wearing a helmet during these types of activities can reduce the risk of head trauma and brain injuries by 85 percent.
Playground Equipment and Trampolines
Playgrounds are filled with swings, merry-go-rounds, monkey bars, and trampolines that kids love to play on, but not all playground equipment is safe or well-maintained. Kids can get nasty cuts from rough metal edges, skinned knees and broken bones from falls, and head injuries from being hit by moving equipment. Trampolines, found in some parks and playgrounds, pose significant dangers to young children, especially if two or more children are jumping on the trampoline at the same time. A large percentage of trampoline injuries are caused by one person colliding with another while jumping on the trampoline, rather than from falls off the equipment. Children should always be supervised by an adult when playing on playground equipment. Safety + Health Magazine recommends playgrounds that have a mulch or shredded-tire surface under playground equipment to soften falls. If kids get cuts, abrasions, or puncture wounds from rusted or jagged metal, a trip to the doctor’s office is recommended to prevent infection. If a tetanus shot or booster is necessary, the shot should be given within 48 hours of the injury.
Summer heat and outdoor cookouts are responsible for many summertime injuries for kids. Severe sunburn from too much fun in the sun can cause a variety of skin problems including blisters, skin infections, and intense pain. Children should always be protected with a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 15, as well as hats and sunglasses that shield the eyes and face from direct sun. If kids are in and out of the water, sunscreen should be reapplied frequently to prevent sunburn.
Fourth of July fireworks and backyard grilling accidents also account for many burn injuries to children. When night falls, the beauty of sparklers and fireworks create excitement, but kids can be seriously maimed, even killed from fireworks that explode or malfunction. Parents should never allow children to be near a backyard grill or fireworks without adult supervision. Even sparklers which are advertised as safe can reach temperatures of 1000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Insect Bites and Stings
Summer heat brings out all kinds of insects including mosquitoes, chiggers, fleas and ticks, wasps and bees, spiders, scorpions, and snakes. Children playing outdoors, especially in tall grass or wooded areas, can easily be bitten by a variety of insects and venomous spiders and snakes. If children are near lakes or at the beach, they may be bitten by rattlesnakes or jellyfish which require immediate medical attention. Insect bites and stings can cause severe itching and pain, skin rashes, and allergic reactions that may require a trip to the hospital emergency room for immediate treatment.