By Mercy's Dr. Donna Eckardt
Summer has arrived and more of us are spending time outdoors. As the temps rise, so do the chances for accidents and injuries outside for children of all ages. As parents, we can’t prevent every accident that may happen, but there are some steps we can take to reduce the risk.
Playground equipment is a source of many injuries this time of year. When installing, make certain it is on level ground, put together securely and firmly anchored to the ground. Choose age appropriate options when selecting a set for your family.
The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes the use of trampolines in a home setting due to high risk of injury. Broken bones are the most common injury on trampolines. If you do have a trampoline, check to see that the springs are in working order and the vertical safety netting is secure. Also, set some guidelines with your children such as having adult supervision at all times and only one person jumping at a time.
According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, each year more than 300 children under 5 years old drown and 2,000 more children visit hospital emergency rooms for submersion injuries every year. Some precautions you can take include installing a fence or wall around the pool, door alarms for the house and a power safety cover over the pool.
Sandboxes can lead to insect bites and possible allergic reactions. The most important thing is to check labels when purchasing sand and only use sand meant for play, other sand could be harmful to your child. Cover the sandbox to deter critters and ensure proper drainage to prevent insect breeding. Also, inspect the sand for insects and other contaminants before allowing your child to play.
While rare, you should be cautious when you see lightning. During the weather transition in the spring, thunderstorms are a common occurrence and come with the risk of lightening strikes. The National Weather Service has a motto: When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors. The safest thing to do when a storm approaches is to go inside until it passes.
There is no substitute for supervision. While kids need time to have free play and choose their activities, make sure – especially for younger children – there is always an adult present.
Dr. Donna Eckardt is the medical director of the pediatric emergency department at Mercy Kids. For more information, visit www.MercyKids.org or call 314-364-3825.