Summer is almost here and kids can’t wait to be out of school and enjoying all the fun the season brings with it. As much as we want them to enjoy themselves, there are also some specific risks to their health and safety to keep in mind. Pediatric emergency medicine doctors share the top reasons kids end up in the ER during the summer and the dangerous activities they won’t let their own children do.
- Play with fireworks - This summertime activity tops the list for these experts because every summer, they see kids come in with injuries related to fireworks, ranging from minor to third-degree burns to even losing fingers or hands, according to Dr. Brent Kaziny at Texas Children’s Hospital. “Parents need to recognize that sparklers can get up to temperatures of over 2-thousand degrees Fahrenheit. It's essentially like a welding torch type of heat," he says.
- Go in or be around pools unsupervised - Kids love swimming, but pools are one of the biggest dangers for them, experts warn. Drowning is the biggest cause of death for kids between one and four in the U.S., and most of them happen in home pools, according to the CDC. Dr. Meghan Martin says these drownings and submersion injuries often happen quickly and quietly, so kids should never be left unsupervised, even for a second, because that’s when it always happens.
- Swim in a rough ocean - Beach days are a favorite summer activity for families, but it’s important to check the weather conditions and surf zone forecast. The CDC reports that downing accidents in natural water (including oceans) are common with kids, especially ages five to 14. At the beach, make sure you pay attention to advisories about undertows or rip tides and keep kids out of the water if it’s too rough or the current is too strong.
- Being in the sun without protection - Getting one or more sunburns during childhood has been linked to an increased risk of developing skin cancer as an adult, according to the CDC. So slather on that broad spectrum sunscreen, and put hats, long-sleeved rash guards and sunglasses on little ones.
- Experts also warn that riding a bike without a helmet, driving ATVs, jumping on trampolines unsupervised and riding in the front seat of a car before age 13 are all risky for kids.