Pool parties, backyard barbecues and other outdoor gatherings are a summer staple for most families. It’s easy to get caught up in the fun and relaxation of the season, and if we’re not careful, all that excitement can be hazardous to our children.
Following are a few simple tips that can help parents keep their children safe from dog days dangers hiding in unexpected places.
Dr. Whitney Minnock, Beaumont pediatric emergency medicine physician, has seen her share of summer injuries. One of the most frequent culprits are bonfire pits. "It's important to have rules about running near the bonfire pit. Kids can trip and fall into the fire and get severely burned." Dr. Minnock adds that a recently extinguished fire can also be dangerous. “If kids are outside and there is a bonfire that is lit or recently put out, kids should always wear shoes. Kids are often running around in their bare feet and can easily burn their feet by stepping on hot ashes.”
Kids should also be supervised when roasting marshmallows. “Kids often enjoy roasting marshmallows around the fire but the sticks can be dangerous if they are used to burn or poke each other."
Lastly, anyone with asthma should be careful with the amount of smoke around a fire as this can trigger an asthma attack.
Playing outside is a great way for kids to get the exercise and fresh air they need to stay healthy, but some common outdoor toys need extra precaution.
When it comes to trampolines, the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend having them in yards, even with the netting.
“Trampolines are fun and found in every neighborhood. As a pediatric emergency medicine physician, I see firsthand how they can be very dangerous. If you own one, make sure only one child is allowed at a time to prevent injuries. I have seen a lot of head and bone injuries due to jumping into other kids, falling off the trampoline, or landing wrong.”
When riding on a bike or scooter always wear a helmet and close toed shoes.
“Drowning is the leading cause of death in children aged 1-4 years old and second leading cause in children aged 1-14 years of age. Many of these incidents occur at parties. It happens when no one is watching but assumes everyone is watching. The best safety measure is to make sure your child is wearing a life jacket if they do not know how to swim. Drowning is often silent. Educate your children on pool safety and teach them to yell for help if they see a child go under the water.”
Additionally, make sure there’s a fence or barrier around the pool, so young children can’t get in unsupervised. Other devices such as pool alarms can alert you if someone does fall in. A small child can drown in an inch of water because that’s all it takes to cover their nose and mouth.
“Many people use the term dry drowning, but this is not a real thing. If a child has a choking, gasping episode while swimming watch them closely. If in the next 24-48 hours they have a hard time breathing or get a fever, please get them evaluated.”
“We have seen severe injuries from lawn tools and lawnmowers. Be sure to exercise caution and keep your children indoors or away from anyone mowing the lawn. this includes letting a child ride on the lawn mower with you. If they fall off they could be seriously injured by the mower.”