June 07, 2021
While kids have gone through two of the most unusual school years in their young lives, they still have the thrill and hope of summer break. But it’s always wise to remember that summer can also be an unsafe time for children.
Whether your kids enjoy summer at camp, at home, or on the road, we’ve got a few tips to help keep everyone safe this year.
It only takes a few seconds for a child to drown, and the water doesn’t even have to be deep. Young kids can drown in less than two inches of water! Always supervise your children when they’re in or around water. Bonus tip: swimming lessons are a good way to teach your child confidence in and around water.
If you’re going boating this summer, be sure everyone has a life jacket. Kids under the age of 13 are required by law to wear one. Correctly fitted life jackets are snug and don’t rise above the chin when you pull up on the shoulders. And remember, an adult should always keep an eye on kids playing in the lake.
Bike accidents cause more childhood injuries than any other consumer product in the U.S. The first rule to prevent serious injury is always wear a helmet. Bikes and helmets should fit kids correctly. When sitting on a bike, they should be able to place both feet flat on the ground. The helmet rim should be one to two finger-widths above your child’s eyebrows, and the strap should be tight (but still comfortable).
We always see a spike of heatstroke cases, which can be life-threatening for children during the summer months. Before heatstroke, kids often display minor symptoms such as heat exhaustion or cramps. When your child is experiencing symptoms, always call 911. Make sure they take plenty of water breaks and wear lightweight clothing when playing outside.
Arkansas law requires kids under the age of six or weighing less than 60 lbs. to be secured in a car seat. And kids under the age of 15 must be buckled up in the back seat. If your child uses a car seat, make sure it's not expired (six years is the limit), and ensure its installed correctly.
Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle. Temperatures inside can rise quickly, and kids' bodies heat up five times faster than adults. A few minutes can mean the difference between life and death. Need a reminder? Place an item you always take with you, like your purse or phone, in the back seat.
Skin can burn even on a cloudy day, so make sure you apply sunscreen every time your kids are going to be outdoors. Slather them with a 30 SPF (or higher) sunscreen at least 30 minutes before they go outside. And remember, applying once isn’t enough! Be sure to reapply every three hours or right after they’ve been in the water. Try to avoid going outside between noon and 3 p.m.
Bugs come out in full force during the summer months. To avoid bites, apply insect repellant before going outside and avoid scented soaps or lotions that can attract bugs. You can treat most itchy bug bites at home with an antihistamine spray or cream.
It's important to recognize the signs of a more severe allergic reaction, such as difficulty breathing or trouble swallowing. If you know your child is allergic, always have an epinephrine auto-injector nearby (and make sure it’s not expired).
Hospital emergency rooms treated about 10,000 firework-related injuries in 2019. Nearly half of those hurt were people under the age of 20. If you celebrate the Fourth of July with a bang, protect your kids. Never let young kids light fireworks or hold bottle rockets or sparklers. Sparklers can reach temperatures of up to 1800°F in seconds!
Arkansas Children’s is by your side, keeping your family healthy and safe this summer. Download our app to keep our Symptom Checker, and first aid tools close at hand.