Summer is the time for fun in the sun! Kids get to enjoy a couple months of no school, warm weather, camps and lots of swimming. Although a break from school and increased outdoor activity is great for the health and wellness of kids, summer is also the season for injuries. From May to September, traumatic injury rates double among children. Here is a list of common injuries and how to prevent and treat them:
1. Bicycle Injuries
One of the most common injuries in the summer months are due to bicycles. Common injuries include wrist fractures and sprains, bruised knees and head injuries. Most importantly, children (and adults!) should always wear a helmet when wearing a bike. After months of storage, make sure the bike and helmet are still in good condition before your child starts riding.
A minor injury (bruises, abrasions) can usually be treated at home with ice and treatment of abrasion to prevent infection. If the injury is serious or is not getting better, see a primary care physician or ER immediately.
Summer months are hot! And here in Houston summer months are VERY hot and humid. Try and limit outdoor activities to cooler parts of the day, either early in the morning or in the evening. Even if your child normally drinks plenty of water, activities during the summer months usually require an increase in normal water intake. When sending them to camp or practice, make sure they have a large water container and know the importance of drinking lots of water.
Signs of extreme dehydration include: weakness, dizziness, heart palpitations, confusion, fainting and inability to sweat. If these symptoms are present, seek medical attention immediately.
3. Trampoline Trauma
Trampolines are a summer favorite with kids, but they can also be dangerous and the cause of concussions, sprains and broken bones. By following a couple guidelines, you can reduce the risk of injury from the trampoline this summer. First, constant supervision of your children on the trampoline is a must. Next, allowing only one child at a time reduces the risk for collisions and concussions. Finally, I highly recommend the enclosures around the trampoline. This reduces the risk of sprains and broken bones and more serious neck/head injuries from falling off the sides.
4. Muscle and Joint Injuries
Summer months are a great time for kids to go to camp, learn a new sport or just enjoy time playing with friends. Unfortunately, kids sometimes get hurt and the incidence of sprains/strains and joint injuries increases during the summer months. Make sure the camps or sport practices have adequate supervision and experienced coaches. This is important for your child to learn proper techniques, especially when learning a new sport or activity.
Minor joint injuries (bruises, mild sprains) can usually be treated at home with RICE: rest, ice, compression, elevation. This is to reduce swelling and help with minimal pain. The rest portion is important to remember and your child may need to sit out certain portions of the camp/sports until they are better as weak/injured joints are susceptible to worsening injuries. If your child experiences a major injury or the pain and/or swelling does not improve in 2-3 days, consult your medical provider.
It's a generic category, but it's also the biggest one -- from jungle gyms, to skateboarding accidents and bare feet slipping on wet surfaces, falling onto something hard is the traumatic event most likely to land a kid in the ER. These types of falls are usually preventable if supervised by parent or adult. Make sure kids are not running around the pool or other wet areas and use caution at the park. Children should always wear a helmet on a skateboard, bicycle, or any motorized recreational vehicles (ATVs, go-karts, ect.)
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