Summer is finally here in New York. Summer is a great time for kids of all ages to enjoy outdoor activities. It’s also the time of year we typically see an uptick in injuries related to outdoor activities.
To keep kids safe and healthy while enjoying summer fun, we’re covering common injuries New York kids suffer in the summer, and how to prevent them.
Water Injuries in New York
Summer is a great time to enjoy water activities, including swimming, fishing, boating and water sports – the precursors to water injuries like drowning, boating accidents and recreational water illnesses.
Drowning is a leading cause of injury for young children with an average of three children dying each day as a result. To prevent drownings:
- Make sure that children are always supervised when in and around water by a responsible adult who will constantly watch them.
- Enroll kids in swimming lessons to teach them how to swim, and teach good water safety practices.
- Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and enroll teens in CPR training as well.
- Install four-sided fencing and a child-proof gate around all home pools.
Boating accidents are another leading cause of injury during the summer. To prevent boating injuries:
- Make sure that the boat operator is well-trained and experienced.
- Always avoid boating while intoxicated, which can lead to legal trouble and serious boating accidents.
- Make sure that all passengers are wearing properly fitted life vests.
Recreational Water Illnesses
Recreational water illnesses are caused by germs and chemicals found in the water we swim in. These can include diarrheal illnesses, chemical irritation to the eyes and lungs, respiratory infections and more. To lower the chance of recreational water illnesses:
- If you’ll be swimming in a public pool, check the pool’s latest inspection results.
- For home pools, use pool test strips to measure water chemistry and chlorine/bromine concentration.
- Make sure that the drain at the bottom of the deep end is visible.
- Shower before and after getting into the pool.
Broken Bones and Sprains in New York
Summer sports and recreational activities often result in broken bones, strains and sprains. While some mishaps are unavoidable, you can minimize your child’s risk of injuries by taking the following precautions:
For biking, rollerblading, skateboarding and riding scooters, make sure that kids are wearing appropriate protective gear. This should always include a helmet.
Other safety gear such as wrist guards, knee pads and elbow pads can prevent injuries to the limbs, and this gear advisable particularly for scooters, rollerblades and skateboards.
Playgrounds and Other Areas
Also make sure that kids are supervised during playground and park play, particularly when playtime involves young children.
Another pro-tip – carry an abbreviated version of your home first aid kit. Besides the regular band-aids, wraps, splints, tape, and topical creams, you can include summer-specific items like sunscreen, aloe gel, and insect repellant.
If your child will be participating in summer sports, talk to the coach and/or organizers about safety precautions and adult supervision. Make sure your child understands the rules and risks of the game, and encourage a fun “practice before practice” session to get them comfortable with the activities involved.
You can also volunteer to help supervise.
Concussions in New York
Summer sports and use of playground equipment can also result in concussions. A serious concussion can have immediate consequences such as permanent brain damage or even death, and even moderate concussions can increase the risk of neurodegenerative disease later in life.
To prevent concussions:
- Make sure that your child wears appropriate safety equipment for all activities, including a helmet that’s well-fitted, undamaged and appropriate for the activity. For example, a bicycle helmet should not be used for horseback riding.
- Supervise all activities.
- Make sure that playgrounds are well-maintained, and have a soft footing to lessen the impact of falls.
If an accident happens and you think a concussion is possible, look for symptoms such as confusion, headaches, nausea, amnesia and sleep disturbances.
If you think there’s any possibility of a concussion, get your child checked out as soon as possible – it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Also make sure your child does not fall asleep while help is on the way.
Heat Injuries in New York
Heat-related injuries happen when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded. It’s common in the summer heat, especially when kids are engaged in strenuous play or sports.
To avoid heat Injuries:
- Never leave babies or children in a hot car, even with the windows cracked.
- Dress children in lightweight and lightly colored clothing.
- On hot days, try to schedule outdoor activities for morning and evening hours.
- Stay cool in the heat by seeking shade and staying hydrated.
- Protect kids from sunburn by using sunscreen and UV-protective clothing.
Summer is a great time for parents and kids to enjoy outdoor activities. Staying active is great for kids’ mental and physical health too.
However, summer activities can also result in serious or even fatal injuries. Luckily, preventing them is relatively easy by making sure that kids are always supervised, and taking the appropriate safety precautions.