Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center.
Avoid Unintentional Injury This Summer
Summer is here, which brings children of all ages outside engaging in lots of fun-in-the-sun activities. Unfortunately, more activities sometimes mean more unintentional injuries. Not all injuries are preventable, but you can be a parent “in the know” and aware of established recommendations to minimize the risk of the most common ones.
Prep with Sunscreen
Avoid the wails of stinging sunburn by lathering your littles from head to toe in sunscreen. The Academy of Pediatrics recommends 15 to 50 SPF and to choose one that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours and after they’ve been in the water or sweating.
Sunscreen isn’t recommended for babies under six months old, so it’s best to always keep them out of direct sunlight and in light, airy clothing. Also consider adding sun protective clothing as an added barrier to their outfit. The sun’s rays are strongest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. so be extra careful during those hours.
According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death in U.S. children 1 to 4 years old. Children should never be near water unattended, and things like wading pools, bathtubs, and buckets should be emptied immediately after use. Adults should actively take turns watching children in the pool, and those who haven’t learned how to swim should wear a life jacket for safety in the water. There are some great infographics online on what colors look like underwater to help pick the safest swimsuit (that’s also cute!). Lafayette Mom Bonus Tip :: Here is a guide to swim lessons in Lafayette.
As your littles are climbing into the car post swim, you might be tempted to keep their towels wrapped around them before buckling — but don’t you dare! Keeping a child or infant wrapped in a towel before buckling them into the car or car seat prevents the proper fit needed for protection and safety. If you’re worried about things getting wet, it’s best to bring dry clothes to change into for the ride home. As a Level II Trauma Center, Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center regularly hosts free community events to check that car seats are installed properly in family vehicles. View upcoming events on our website (ochsner.org) to have yours checked.
Did you know teens are at an increased risks of collisions because of phone-related, distracted driving? According to a 2018 article in the Journal of Adolescent Health, nearly 40% of teens texted or sent emails while driving in the previous 30 days. Like many states, Louisiana has made it illegal to text or visit social media sites while driving. Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center regularly teams up with Louisiana State Police to offer free classes for teens to help develop skills that promote responsible behavior while driving. The hospital-based program, Sudden Impact, shows young drivers the consequences of driving impaired, driving distracted and not wearing seatbelts.
Parks and recreation
Does your adventurer have a favorite park they like to go to? There’s a ton to choose from in Acadiana! Finding one with the right-sized play equipment for your mover-and-shaker will help reduce those potential bruises. During the day, do the “touch test” on things like the slides and swings beforehand to see how hot the equipment is from sun exposure to help avoid thermal burns. And parks with areas that offer more kid-friendly ground surfaces like rubber or mulch help ease the impact of falling when playing too fast and maybe falling too hard.
With every outdoor activity, give your child plenty of water and time in the shade to avoid dehydration and overheating. Kids are especially prone to heat rash, so be on the lookout for tiny pink bumps on the back of neck, chest or upper back.
Summer is a great time for family activities and making memories. Keeping these things in mind before going out will keep your kiddos safe and you staying cool and calm – at least on the inside.
About the Author
Dr. David Trahan, MD is a physician at Ochsner Urgent Care – Pont Des Mounton. His Find a Doc profile for more info or to make an appointment can be found at this link: David Trahan, MD | Ochsner Health.