Welcome to Growing Up with Dr. Sarah!
April 18, 2022

How can parents help their kids avoid injury and keep their kids safe?

The days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer and kids are spending more time outdoors. It is springtime – a season for hiking, grilling, gardening, and outdoor fun. But with spring also comes the occasional bump, bruise, bite, rash, and fall. 

So, how can we keep our families safe this Spring? 

 

 

 

The hazards that come with spring

 

  • Many common spring injuries can be prevented by taking just a few moments to focus on safety. 
  • The first thing for everything is supervision.”
  • Warm weather means Open Windows 
  • Young children four years old and younger are at a greater risk for window falls and are more likely to sustain serious injuries or die, according to the Journal of Pediatrics.
  • To prevent window falls, move furniture away from windows, install window guards or stops, and don’t rely on window screens. 
  • Kids can fall from windows open as little as five inches.
  • Screens keep bugs out, but they don’t keep children in

 

 

 

Spring cleaning and gardening

 

  • Hidden dangers in cleaning and gardening products
  • Fertilizers, poisons 
  • According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), approximately 2.4 million people – more than half under age 6 – swallow or have contact with a poisonous substance each year.
  • Children may think a poison is ingestible, especially if a parent has placed excess cleaner or poison in a bottle that resembles a drinking bottle, even a small amount of poison is enough to harm a child.
  • Store all cleaning and gardening products in their original containers, up and out of the reach of children. Trade-in heavy-duty cleaning products for non-toxic cleaners, and make sure your child doesn’t get near the poisons you’re using while you’re in the middle of a project.
  • Poison Center phone number by each phone in your home, and program it into your cell phone: 1-800-222-1222.

 

 

Grilling

  • Before lighting up the grill this spring, think about safety first. The best thing for a parent to do is get down on their hands and knees and access potential dangers, Put yourself in the position of a small child. If you see something that looks like it may be enticing around the grill or in the backyard ask yourself, could this be a danger to my child’s safety?
  • Keep kids away from grills, and establish a safety zone, making sure the zone is at least 10 feet away from the grill. 
  • By taking this safety measure, parents can reduce the risk of a child touching the grill and severely burning themselves.
  • Always have kids wear shoes around the grill. The charcoal from a grill, which can be very hot, can come out the bottom, increasing the likelihood of a child getting burned. Also, sharp utensils used for grilling may fall on the ground. Wearing proper footwear can reduce the risk of puncture wounds.

 

Lawnmowers

  • Each year many children are severely injured by lawnmowers, according to the AAP. 
  • However, most of these injuries can be prevented. 
  • The AAP recommends not letting children under 12 use a walk-behind mower and not allowing children under 16 to use a riding lawnmower. 
  • Never let a child use a lawnmower without proper shoes – boots or closed-toe shoes. 
  • Safety goggles or glasses with side shields will keep their eyes protected. 
  • Also, make sure lawnmowers have an automatic shut-off mechanism.
  • Before mowing, pick up any items on the lawn that could be potential safety hazards. Woodward says rocks and nails hidden in the grass can become fast-moving projectiles that could harm a child.
  • Be aware of your surroundings while mowing. You can’t see 360 degrees around you 
  • Make sure small children are indoors when operating a lawnmower to reduce the risk of injury.

 

Trampolines

  • Trampolines can be fun and dangerous
  • Thousands of children are injured on trampolines each year. 
  • The AAP advises against trampolines for home use, but offers the following precautions if families do choose to have a home trampoline:

Insist on adult supervision at all times

Allow only one jumper on the trampoline at a time

Do not allow flips or somersaults

Check for adequate protective padding on the trampoline and make sure it is in good condition and appropriately placed

Check all equipment often and repair or replace parts immediately when needed.

 

Hiking

  • Popular Springtime activity 
  • Be Prepared
  • Wear appropriate footwear and clothing
  • Pack extra water
  • Sunscreen, insect repellant, and first aid kit
  • Plan ahead - bug bites, stings, plants that can cause a rash or allergic reaction, exposure to sun, heat, wind, water, or cold.
  • Streams are higher, faster colder - keep kids away from running water
  • Watch for loose rock - dislodged, pin a child, unstable

 

Urgent care or emergency department?

 

  • Accidents happen
  • When your child or teen needs immediate medical care for serious injuries - options for care
  • Assess the severity of the injury or illness
  • In general, if you’re worried about altered mental status, disfigurement, large lacerations, concussions, or loss of consciousness, a child should be taken to the ED
  • If a child becomes injured, take a deep breath, first and foremost. “We don’t want two patients instead of one
  • Parents should calmly assess the situation and act in the best interest of their child.
  • Remember, if your child’s illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911.