Guest post by Holly Sanford, RN, BSN, CPEN
Before we know it, summer makes its way into our lives, and we plow ahead into the adventures and fun. It’s important to take time to review some safety reminders to maximize play time and minimize injuries.
5 Summer Safety Tips for Little Ones
During the summer months, pediatric emergency rooms typically see an uptick in preventable injuries. These five summer safety tips will help minimize risks for little ones.
1. Home Injuries
Little ones usually spend more time around the house during the summer. As a result, there are more opportunities for children to get hurt around the house. It is important to walk through your home on a regular basis and take action against potential hazards.
- Cover sharp edges on tables, cabinets, fireplaces, and chairs with corner protectors.
- Ensure cabinets with medications or chemicals are locked or out of reach (think under the sink, in the bathroom, etc).
- Cover electrical outlets with safety plugs.
- Check for mold around damp areas or pots where plants are growing.
- Replace smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries.
- If there are any weapons in the home, place them in a secure location. Routinely confirm guns are locked and unloaded if present in the home.
- Always confirm you know the location of your little one when backing in and out of the driveway. Check all mirrors and cameras and always drive slowly.
2. Drowning and Near Drowning Incidents
Sadly, many children drown each year or are seen in the emergency room for water related injuries. These incidents can be reduced with the following precautions:
- Provide constant adult supervision when children are in the water.
- Limit your time on electronics while at the pool to focus on water safety.
- Help your child learn to swim either through personal instruction or swim classes.
- While at lakes, beaches, or large bodies of water, make sure your child wears a properly fitted life jacket.
- Swim at locations with lifeguards.
- If you have a pool at your home, provide multiple gate checks during the day. Confirm that small children cannot squeeze through the railing. This is important to do even if you do not have small children but family, friends or neighbors have access to the pool.
- If your child is in the water a lot, make sure their ears get dried out at the end of the day with a towel. Swimmer’s ear is common in the summer and occurs when water stays in the warm moist environment of the ear.
- Speaking of ears, if you've ever wondered if you can put a nasal aspirator in your child's ear, we have the answer here!
3. Recreational Equipment
With those warm summer days comes extra time for recreational activities.
- Always make sure your little one has a helmet on when riding bicycles, scooters, etc.
- Never allow small children to play on the trampoline. Children 6 years and older may play with adult supervision. It's important to keep in mind that children's bones differ from adults, as they are more flexible because their chemical composition is different from that of adult bones.
- When playing on the playground, always closely supervise your children. Use the equipment properly. Don’t allow standing in swings and always go feet first down the slide.
- Review the rules with children prior to playing: never push or roughhouse while on equipment.
Heat exposure is particularly dangerous for small children who cannot always articulate their needs.
- Provide extra hydration on hot days. Encourage extra water intake and offer frequent water breaks (and bathroom breaks!). It’s okay to offer a sports drink if they child has been outside playing for over an hour to help replace electrolytes.
- Wear lightweight, cool clothing. Dress the baby or small child in the same amount of layers as you are wearing.
- Do not pile blankets on small babies.
- Provide breaks every 15 minutes in the shade if your little one has an outdoor activity in the heat.
A majority of burns that small children experience are preventable. Burns account for about 3,500 adult and pediatric deaths a year.
- Preset your hot water heater to prevent scald injuries, preferably less than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Monitor your children in the kitchen, especially if you have the stove or oven turned on or if it is still hot. Place all hot items out of reach of children and use the back burner when you can. Provide constant supervision if you are using a grill to cook. Most pediatric burn patients are small children who have obtained a scald injury.
- Place chemical solutions like bleach out of reach of children or in a locked cabinet.
- Always check the water temperature of any heated liquid given to a child.
- If your child is outside, apply sunblock, even on cloudy days.
- Keep appliances unplugged when not in use.
Accidents happen and it is important to consult your doctor if you are ever worried about your child after an injury. We hope that these summer safety tips help keep you and your family healthy and happy during these sunny months and beyond!
Looking for more safety tips?
- Common Mistakes Parents Make When Using a Nasal Aspirator
- Breath-Holding Spells: What Parents Need to Know
- 5 Mistakes Parents Make, According to a Pediatric ENT
Holly Sanford, RN, BSN, CPEN is a mother and a pediatric nurse of 9 years with a lifelong passion for helping children and their families. In her free time, she loves cooking new recipes, traveling to unique places and staying active with her family.