Top 7 Summer Safety Hazards

Children are most likely to wind up in the emergency room because of summer injuries. Here, the latest advice on protecting your kids, from Parents magazine and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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Playgrounds

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Playgrounds

Injury Facts: Kids who fall off climbing equipment, slides, and swings usually injure their face, head, or arms, says Parents advisor Dennis Durbin, MD, director of research in emergency medicine at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Safety Check: A preschool-age child shouldn't be more than four feet off the ground, says Dr. Durbin. Make sure surfaces are cushioned, equipment is maintained, and there are no exposed bolts or open "S" hooks.

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Study Finds Major Jump In Kids Injured In Bouncers

The trouble with inflatable bouncers. Courtesy of Nationwide Children's Hospital.

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Heat Exposure

Heat Exposure

Illness Facts: Your child can develop heat exhaustion and become seriously dehydrated when she's in the hot sun for too long. Symptoms include pale skin, dizziness, headache, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. Kids under 4 are especially vulnerable to high temperatures.

Safety Check: Keep your child indoors during heat waves. Make sure she stays hydrated by giving her plenty to drink even if she says she isn't thirsty. Never leave your child in a car, which can heat up rapidly.

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Food Poisoning

Food Poisoning

Illness Facts: Bacteria grow quickly in perishable food that's left out at picnics and barbecues. Symptoms resemble stomach flu: nausea, cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases, fever and bloody stool.

Safety Check: Make sure food is cooked thoroughly. Wash your hands often and prevent cross-contamination by using separate plates for raw and cooked foods. Never leave food out for more than an hour when it's hot outside; store it in a well-insulated cooler packed with plenty of ice.

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Fireworks

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Fireworks

Injury Facts: "Bottle rockets can cause serious eye injuries that lead to partial or complete blindness," says pediatrician Gary Smith, MD, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital, in Columbus, Ohio. Sparklers can burn the skin and ignite clothing.

Safety Check: Don't use or let your child use or be around any fireworks, including sparklers. Instead, visit a public display run by professionals.

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Bicycles

Bicycles

Injury Facts: Kids often crash into obstacles or lose control, but the most serious injuries occur when children are struck by cars, says Dr. Smith.

Safety Check: Have your child wear a helmet every time she rides. It should be snug and level with her forehead. Don't let her ride in the street until she's 10. Teach her to look both ways before crossing driveways.

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Skateboards and Scooters

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Skateboards and Scooters

Injury Facts: Head injuries and wrist fractures are particularly common. Kids are most likely to get hurt when they're first learning to ride, or when they ride too fast or attempt tricks, says H. Garry Gardner, MD, chair of the AAP's National Committee on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention.

Safety Check: Your child needs a helmet, wrist guards, slip-resistant shoes, elbow pads, and knee pads. Kids under 5 shouldn't use skateboards or two-wheeled scooters, recommends the AAP.

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Lawn Mowers

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Lawn Mowers

Injury Facts: Tragic accidents happen when an adult backs over a child or when a child falls off a ride-on mower and slides under the blades -- causing lacerations and even amputations.

Safety Check: Keep your child indoors or far from the mowing area. Always look behind you when you put the mower in reverse.


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