While summer break should be relaxing, unfortunately, it’s also a time of year when emergency departments experience an increase in common summer injuries. Planning ahead could prevent some injuries, starting with prepping your first-aid kit.
How to Prep a First-Aid Kit
A first-aid kit is necessary not only at home, but also on-the-go. Think about the basics for small injuries like cuts and scrapes, but also family specific items. Consider these items:
- Bandages (in different sizes)
- Antibiotic ointment
- Gauze pads
- Gauze wraps
- Compression bandage for sprains/strains
- Ice pack (particularly for home)
- Pain relievers/anti-inflammatory medication
- Antihistamine (liquid, pill and/or topical cream for rashes, bites and stings)
- Prescription medications (and related medical equipment such as nebulizer/mask or spacer and mask for those with asthma)
- Plastic bag or small container to hold items in your first-aid kit
How to Prevent Water Accidents
Florida is surrounded by water and unfortunately leads the nation in child drownings, so take precautions whether you’re at the beach or pool. Here are a few tips to stay safe in and around water:
- Have a clear view of your child and never leave them alone
- Designate a water watcher — to request a water watcher card, email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Childproof doors and use alarms to signal when a door is opened
- Remove toys from pool areas so it’s less tempting for a child
- Teach children swim safety basics and keep up with swim lessons
- Install a fence with self-closing, self-latching gates if you have a pool
- Learn CPR
- Avoid scrapes and stings — check surroundings for rock, coral and marine animals (do the “sting ray shuffle”)
- If your child is exposed to a marine bite/sting, clean the wound with large amounts of warm/hot water to remove foreign bodies, debris and/or venom, and consider giving acetaminophen or ibuprofen for the pain; if the pain is severe, seek emergency care
How to Practice Sun Safety
The hottest and sunniest times of the day occur between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., so it’s important to use SPF of 15-30 or higher sunscreen and apply it 30 minutes before going outside, and reapply often.
Warm temperatures can also lead to dehydration or heat stroke so drinking water throughout the day is important. Children should drink their age in 8-ounce glasses of water until they reach the age of 8 (i.e. an 8-year old should drink eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day). Look for signs of dehydration, including:
- elevated heart rate
- muscle cramps
- reduced sweating
- urine changes (i.e. dark urine, small amount of urine)
- clammy skin
How to Prevent Head, Neck Injuries or Fractures and Sprains
From biking, skating/skateboarding to jumping on trampolines, we see a lot of head/neck injuries as well as broken bones and sprains. Adult supervision is always a must but also be sure to use helmets and pads when biking and skating.
When it comes to trampolines, only allow only one person at a time and make sure the trampoline is a safe distance from other potential hazards like trees and water. Also cover the frames and springs and consider a safety net around the equipment.
Other common injuries in the summer include burns related to grilling and fireworks accidents (avoid at home and opt for public fireworks displays). With these, and all injuries mentioned, ensure children are always supervised to have a safer summer.