Playing it Safe: Precautions for Injury-Free Fun
Summertime brings plenty of outdoor activities for kids and parents. Unfortunately, on the flip side of the coin is the real possibility for injuries. UR Medicine Urgent Care’s Dr. Matthew Capuano shares tips for safe summer play.
As parents, we pay a lot of attention to the safety of our children on public playgrounds. We tend to be better observers in this setting than we are at home, closely monitoring the equipment on and making sure our kids use it properly to avoid injury. The need to be vigilant is equally important at home:
- Supervise children at all times. Don’t become complacent.
- Inspect play areas regularly for hazards such as sharp objects, broken equipment and rocks.
- Check outdoor equipment temperature, especially if it’s in direct sunlight.
- Inspect gaps and spaces on equipment. Spaces must be less than 3.5 inches, or more than 9 inches, to avoid a child’s head getting stuck.
- Remove your child’s jewelry and secure any loose drawstrings on their clothing.
- Always have your child wear a helmet when riding a bike, scooter or skateboard.
- Protect against falls by placing guardrails around elevated surfaces.
Trampolines may be popular and fun, but they send thousands of people to emergency rooms annually with sprains, broken bones and worse. Consider these safety guidelines:
- An adult should supervise trampoline play at all times.
- Only one person should jump on the trampoline at a time. Many injuries occur when more than one is jumping at the same time and they collide or fall on each other.
- No somersaults, flips or dangerous tricks. Ever. A simple rule to follow: Heads UP!
- Place protective padding on any exposed equipment and check the equipment often to make sure it’s in good working order. Repair or replace damaged equipment.
- Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by a net or other safety device. Studies show that these devices add little in the way of injury prevention. Vigilance is critical!
Summer heat takes on a whole new meaning as warm weather draws more people outside to work, play and dine. Campfires, grilling, sun exposure and fireworks all have the potential to cause injury.
Burns require immediate care. For serious burns, go straight to an Urgent Care or Emergency Room. For lesser burns, here are the steps you can take:
- Burns caused by fluids or chemicals must be rinsed immediately in cold water for at least 20 minutes. Don’t use ice or iced water as it may cause frostbite.
- Other burns should be gently cleansed with a mild soap as soon as possible.
- Unless clothing is sticking to the burned area, take clothing around the burned area off. If it is stuck to the skin, leave it on and seek medical assistance.
- Cover burns with a clean, dry towel or gauze.
- Don’t break blisters. Let a doctor handle that.
First and foremost—be safe. But don’t forget to have fun. Summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors with family, and exercise and sun (don’t forget your sunscreen) are both critical ingredients in the recipe for happy, healthy kids.
Matthew D. Capuano, M.D., is an emergency medicine physician and medical director for UR Medicine Urgent Care. He cares for patients at locations in Pittsford, Henrietta, Penfield and Spencerport. UR Medicine also has Urgent Care locations in Farmington (Ontario County) and Newark (Wayne County).
Lori Barrette |