Avoiding Summer Injuries and Summertime injuries
Every summer children all over the country are temporarily released from the responsibilities of school and allowed to catch up on the fun activities they didn’t have time for during the school year. Trips to beaches, lakes, dunes, mountain trails, and the like are not only more common, but are also more likely to last for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, the increase in participation of certain summertime activities often results in an increase of injuries treated by pediatricians. In most cases, summertime injuries are preventable with a little planning and preparation with absolutely no effect on the amount of fun had by all.
On hot summer days, children should remember to hydrate regularly, especially the more active they are. Serious injuries like heat stroke can easily be prevented with a proper hydration schedule. Even if a child does not feel hot or thirsty he should be reminded to drink water regularly, because physical temperature and thirst are not accurate indicators of internal fluid or electrolyte levels. A more accurate indicator of hydration is the color of a person’s urine. Someone who is well hydrated will have light, almost clear urine, while those who are not well hydrated will have dark yellow to brown urine. Externally, regular use of sun block can prevent sunburns and block harmful UV rays that can damage the skin over time.
To avoid summer injuries on wheels and water, children should not operate any vehicle that they do not know how, or are not legally allowed, to operate. Whether the requirement is a license, an experienced adult in the passenger seat, or just an approved helmet, obeying the laws that regulate the vehicles being operated is a great way to reduce the likelihood of injury while operating those vehicles. Even when the requirements to operate a vehicle have been met, no child should attempt to operate something they do not know how to operate, without the supervision of an experienced adult. This is true of both motorized and human powered vehicles. When operating a vehicle during the hours of darkness, it is important to remain illuminated, regardless of local requirements.
Children that choose to spend their summer days playing sports with friends can protect themselves from summertime injury by wearing the appropriate safety gear for the sport they are playing. This will significantly reduce the risk of bruises, cuts, tears, and breaks. In addition, stretching before physical activity is believed to reduce aches and cramps, while good hydration helps to protect bones and joints by keeping them lubricated during play.
Summertime is a time to be spent with friends and family having fun, not recovering from an entirely preventable injury and being forced to spend the rest of the summer in a cast or on crutches. Taking a few moments to ensure a piece of safety equipment is worn properly or to encourage proper hydration might not only save summer for a child, but making an effort to promote safety this summer could save a child’s life.