Beating Summer Heat

Before summer presents itself, the temperatures begin rising and the summer activities begin taking place, it is important to know that people are at risk for developing heat stress. This can happen to anyone, including children, older adults, those working outside and those with medical conditions.

What is heat stress? It is important to know the difference between heat strokes and heat exhaustion. The two are both serious issues, yet one may require more serious medical attention. Heat stroke may occur when the body is unable to cool itself and maintain a normal level of temperature.

Heat exhaustion may present itself with light-headedness, nausea, fatigue, muscle cramping and dizziness. Being able to recognize these signs is imperative to treating them. If one presents with these symptoms try to take these steps in lowering body temperature and cooling the body.

  • Remove tight or extra clothing layers
  • Move to an open or air-conditioned place
  • Take a cold shower or use a cold compress
  • Drink fluids and electrolytes

Heat stroke is a condition that requires medical attention immediately. The common symptoms of heat stroke may include headache, rapid heart rate, confusion, nausea or vomiting, no sweating, and possibly losing consciousness. As soon as these symptoms occur it is crucial that these steps are taken.

  • Call 911 right away
  • Move the individual to a cooler area
  • Use cold compresses to help cool their body temperature
  • Do not give or intake fluids

As a parent there are different precautions that you can take to lower the risk of your child experiencing this. When playing outside or engaging in activity be sure to take frequent water breaks. Wearing clothing that is not dark in color, heavy, or moisture retaining can help. When going outside try to plan activities at times the sun is not at its peak, or as the temperature is lowering.

If someone is experiencing heat stroke and treatment is not provided it can lead to death. The symptoms of heat stroke are a medical emergency and will need to be treated as soon as possible. Although there is no way to entirely avoid the potential for this to happen, there are adequate ways to limit the chance as well as how to respond.

Safe and Fun Summer Swimming!

A nice dip in the pool, tubing in the river, or maybe even going on a boat on the lake. As the warmer months begin approaching, it is inevitable that most people will be spending more time in the water. When most think of water we think of summertime, playing, and overall exciting times. Although these fun times make up most water-related summer memories, there is a high risk of water injuries occurring.

  • Did you know that for children younger than 15 years old, nearly 68% of reported fatal drowning victims were boys?
  • Between years 2014 and 2016, 74% of children being treated in the emergency department for non-fatal, pool- or spa-related drowning incidents were younger than 5 years old.

How can we prevent drowning?

As a parent you want to ensure that your child is safe around bodies of water, such as pools, lakes, and rivers. There are different ways to protect your child from unsafe situations. These include preventative measures, educating your children on water safety, and learning how to respond in a drowning situation. Drownings are typically silent and occur quickly. Meaning the prevention of drownings are extremely important, and this starts with education and action.

Water Safety

This starts with making sure that young children do not have easy access to open bodies of water, especially unsupervised. Protection against unsafe access to water includes 4-sided fencing with a self-closing or self-latching gate around any areas of water that could present as dangerous.

It is crucial to teach children how to swim. Children who cannot swim on their own face a much higher risk of drowning, leading to potentially life-threatening injuries. There are many resources to help teach your children how to swim, such as signing them up for classes at a local parks and recreation department.

Although it is important that children can swim on their own, accidents do happen. At any time that children are swimming or playing in the water, there should be a designated water watcher. This could be any adult who is able to swim and give their direct attention to children in the water and can keep an eye out for any situations that appear to be unsafe or alarming.

In situations where an accident does occur and drowning happens, it is essential that those around know how to properly respond. Knowing how to give CPR can save someone’s life and allow for a quicker response in such situations.

Lastly, checking pool drain covers can prevent drowning. If there is pool drain cover that is not correctly installed, broken or even recalled, this can lead to drowning. The drains can create a strong suction, resulting in the pulling of items or even children to the bottom of the pool.

Before summer arrives and outdoor activities are at their peaks, take the time to confirm that you have covered all safety precautions concerning swimming. Engage in a swimming lesson, limit easy access to bodies of water and brush up on your CPR! Follow these simple steps to foster safe swimming. 

Spring into Safety on Your Bicycle

Next week is Bike to School Day! Biking and warm weather reminds us that summer is almost here. Summer brings many opportunities for us to get outside and play outdoors. Riding bikes around the neighborhood, chasing down the ice-cream truck, playing on the playground. These are all activities we love to do, and it is even more important that they are done so safely.

It is a joyful time for children, but what steps can we take to keep it that way? By being safe!

As parents it is important to equip your children with the knowledge to practice safer habits. One large cause for injuries are bicycle accidents. To put into perspective how prevalent they are, nearly 500,000 people go to the hospital every year for injuries related to a bicycle crash. Do not let these numbers scare you, but rather encourage you to practice safe habits, and with a few tips you can be much safer!

Let’s start with the biggest tips for bicycle safety:

  • Helmets: It is found that 75% of bicycle-related fatalities amongst children could have been avoided, if there were use of a helmet. Not only is it important to wear one, but it is also important that the helmet is being worn correctly.
  • Be Visible: It is no surprise that cars are much larger than bikes, and therefore easier to see. Bicyclists on the other hand, may be much harder to spot. To try and combat this issue, have children avoid riding at nighttime, and if they do, have them wear bright or reflective clothing to increase visibility. Front white and rear red lights are required on bicycles by law and are an important additions to see and be seen.
  • Signaling: In cars we use turn signals, we have break lights, and other features to let other cars know our next move. When biking it is just as important to have these features, so take the time to learn hand signaling. Creating an understanding between drivers and bicyclists can lower the number of accidents. Learning these hand signals with your family can be a fun activity, give it a go!

Check out these simple bicyclist signals!

Enjoying summer and creating new memories are important parts of childhood and practicing safe habits can only make it better. Taking the time to discuss these simple habits with your children can decrease risk of injury and increase their ability to make fun and safe memories.

Prevent Accidental Poisonings in Your Home

Where do you store your medicine, cleaning supplies, or items such as bug spray? If you are like most of us, you may have said in a cabinet or under the sink. Storing items such as these may not seem to be a big deal, however, incorrectly storing these items could put your children at serious risk for accidental poisoning. It only takes a bit of time and effort to drastically decrease the chances of this happening.

Let’s take a look at a few statistics according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

  • 91% of poisonings take place at home.
  • Poisoning is the leading cause of injury-related death in America.
  • The exposure to cleaning products we typically store within the home is the second leading cause of poisoning in children.

Although these thoughts and numbers may pose as fear-invoking, you can easily make changes to where you store potentially harmful items. Storing harmful items in areas that are out of reach to children can lower the risk of poisoning. There is a common misconception that “storing” the medicines you may not take on a regular basis is enough, but it is important to do the same with medicines you take frequently. Let’s go over simple, yet effective ways to protect your children from accidental poisonings.

  1. Keep all medicine out of the sight or access of children, even if it is something you take daily. Children are inquisitive and will get into items such as medications if it is within their reach.
  2. Child-proof areas that you may store your cleaning supplies, or medications. Items such as safety cabinet locks can prevent children from gaining access to these items or try storing them out of sight and out of reach.
  3. Buy items with child-resistant packaging when you can. If medication bottles or cleaning supplies are not child-resistant, it is crucial to store these items both out of sight and out of access.
  4. Use alarms to keep track of medication intake. Instead of leaving medications on counters or surfaces that children can get to, set alarms to remind yourself when to take the medication.
  5. Keep and list the Poison Help number in your phone and home for yourself and caregivers: 1-800-222-1222. There are 24-hour services provided to help you with poison related questions, emergencies, and overall medicine safety.

It may not be possible to entirely eliminate the chance of accidental poisoning, but it is possible to take steps to decrease the risk of this happening. Being more aware and taking preventative steps to eliminate access to medications or cleaning supplies can heighten your child’s at home safety. Take a look at these links for more resources on this topic.

https://www.safekids.org/checklist/medication-safety-checklist

https://www.safekids.org/tip/parent-medication-tip-card-pdf

Winter Sports Safety

With winter at its peak and the chance to enjoy a few more weeks of the winter sports activities it has to offer, it could be time to ask, what are your favorite winter sports to engage in? It may be sledding, skiing, ice skating, or perhaps even hockey. Although these sports present us with excitement and the ability to try new activities, it is important that we remain aware of the need for safety while doing so.

Every year nearly 200,000 people receive treatment as a result of injuries due to winter sports. There are numerous injuries that can occur from engaging in winter sports. These can include concussions, strains, fractures, dislocations, and other injuries. Each sport varies in its likelihood of a certain injury occurring, for example, skiers tend to experience knee injuries as a result of a damaged ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). Other sports such as sledding tend to result in head injuries and broken bones. Although it may not be realistic to entirely eliminate the chance of injury, there are a few ways you can limit the probability and enjoy fun, new, and safe winter sports!

One relieving aspect of this is that there are cautionary steps you can take to lower the chances of injury. Let’s take a look at ways you can prevent winter sport related injuries and continue engaging in the hobbies you love.

Slow to Start: Prior to engaging in strenuous sports such as snowboarding or skiing, try warming up. Allow for your muscles, ligaments, and tendons to loosen up through light stretching before taking part in the activity.

Staying in Shape: Ensuring that you do your best to keep your muscles and body in shape can allow for you to jump into winter sports much quicker. Focusing on increasing core strength, upper and lower body strength, and balance can lower risk of injury. When our bodies are in shape and can provide us with a stable base, we are at our best and less injury prone.

Following the Rules: With each winter sport comes different rules to stay safe, and it is important to research the activity you are engaging in prior to. If there are signs when you are skiing or snowboarding, be sure to pay attention to what they say.

Safe to Use Equipment: In any winter sport you are destined to need some sort of equipment, and before doing so, test the equipment to make sure it is safe to use. For example, with sledding, make sure that the sled has no visible safety hazards, and that you have the ability to stop yourself when using.

Falling Correctly: Falling directly onto your elbows, shoulders, and wrists can cause serious injuries. Learning from an informational video or instructor on how to fall correctly can limit the severity of fall related injuries.

Taking into account these tips and tricks to prevent winter related sports injuries will not entirely limit the potential for injury, but it will lower the risk. Even if precautions are taken, injuries may occur, and it is important to receive treatment from a doctor as soon as it happens. Following injuries, you may need rehabilitation, and you can eventually return to those winter sports we all love.