- On Good Things Utah this morning – Summer is almost here, which means the weather is warmer, the days are longer and parents are gearing up for big schedule changes. It’s a favorite season for many children, and for good reason — along with a much-needed break from school, the summer provides plenty of opportunities for fun. The season also presents unique risks to children’s health and safety, according to experts. Whether kids are enjoying the summer at home, going on vacations or heading to camp, it’s important to ensure they are having fun safely. We spoke to pediatric emergency medicine physicians about some of the top reasons why children end up in the ER during summer, risky activities they wouldn’t let their own children do and how parents can ensure their kids stay safe this summer.
- Play with fireworks
- When asked about this nostalgic summer activity, the experts unanimously agreed that fireworks should be left to the professionals and enjoyed from a safe distance. That means no home fireworks, even the legal ones. Every summer, children come into the emergency room with injuries related to fireworks — unsurprisingly, these tend to spike around the Fourth of July, Dr. Brent Kaziny, medical director of emergency management at Texas Children’s Hospital, tells TODAY.com. These range from minor to third-degree burns, severe injuries to the face or eyes, and even losing fingers or hands, says Kaziny. In 2021, there were nine deaths in the U.S. due to fireworks, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Fortunately, most of these injuries can be prevented by not setting off fireworks at home, the experts note. If parents still want to take that risk, Kaziny emphasizes that children should never be allowed to touch or light any of the fireworks, including sparklers.
- Go in or around home pools unsupervised
- Swimming pools are one of the joys of summer, but also one of the biggest dangers for kids, the experts say. Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4 in the United States, and most of these drownings occur in home swimming pools, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drownings and submersion injuries often happen quickly and quietly, Dr. Meghan Martin, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, tells TODAY.com. Because of this, she says kids should never be left in or around a swimming pool unsupervised. “Avoid stepping away, even for just a second, because that’s when it all happens,” says Martin. Always make sure there is a designated “water-watcher” supervising kids in the pool, says Farrell, especially when young kids or toddlers are in the water. Parents should also teach children about pool safety as early as possible so they know not to get in the water when adults aren’t around and how to get out, Farrell adds.
- Swim in a rough ocean
- Relaxing at the beach is a favorite summer activity for many families. However, the ocean presents unique risks — and drowning accidents in natural water (including oceans) are common among kids, especially those ages 5 to 14, according to CDC data. Before going to the beach, always check the weather conditions and surf zone forecast, the experts note. “When you’re at the beach, make sure you’re paying attention to any advisories related to undertows or rip tides,” says Kaziny. If there are beach flags raised or lifeguard warnings, always listen to them, he adds. In any case, if the ocean seems too rough or the current too strong, Martin recommends parents keep children out entirely, especially if they are young or not strong swimmers. Tune in to a Friday edition of Good Things Utah to hear more summer tips.
- Play with fireworks
Doctors share the top reasons why kids end up in emergency rooms
by: Nicea DeGering
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