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Summer Should Be Fun…and Safe

Oh, summer, where have you been? Longer days and later nights, the sound of kids playing in the neighborhood, snow cones, swimsuits and sprinklers, carnivals, camping, and family vacations. Summer is a time when people and their families make memories enjoying the outdoors. It’s supposed to be filled with fun, so here are a few reminders to ensure it stays safe while having fun.

All the cool kids are wearing helmets. Summer is when kids love riding their bikes, rollerblading, skateboarding, and using motorized scooters. Encourage your children to wear a helmet, and explain that it just may save their life. Many injuries happen in driveways, on sidewalks, and on bike paths, not just on streets. Children learn best by observing you, so set the example. When purchasing a helmet, look for a label or sticker that says the helmet meets the CPSC safety standard. A helmet should be worn so that it is level on the head and covers the forehead, not tipped forward or backward. The strap should be securely fastened with about two fingers able to fit between chin and strap. The helmet should be snug on the head, but not overly tight.

Streets are for cars, not kids. Teach your children road safety.

  • Teach them to use crosswalks, if available.
  • Teach them when you should cross and when you shouldn’t. Look both ways.
  • Encourage them to ride bikes on the sidewalks instead of streets.
  • Playtime should have restrictions. Your kids should never play where vehicles are moving.
  • Wear bright-colored clothing so they stand out to drivers.

Sunburns hurt. They can also be dangerous. So, power through the tantrums and resistant behavior when applying sunscreen to your kids. They will thank you when they’re older (or maybe not). Tips for sun protection include wearing hats, using long sleeves or pants when in the sun for extended times, and of course using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF30 or higher.  Canyon View Medical has some fantastic blogs on sunscreen. Check these out. Skin Protection by Dr. Paxton, How to Pick the Right Sunscreen by Kristen Wright, FNP.

Hot cars can be killers. NEVER leave your infants and children (or pets) in a car unattended. NOT EVEN for a minute. We hear about cases every year, yet Utah continues to have heat stroke-related deaths due to parents leaving their children in the car. In fact, according to the Utah Department of Health, on average, every 10 days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle. In more than half of these deaths, the caregiver forgot the child was in the car. In 2018, 52 children died in hot cars across the U.S., and by June of 2019, we had already seen 11 deaths nationwide. It may be tempting to run into the gas station while your baby sleeps, or leave your toddler in the car while you drop something off at a friend’s house, but it’s best if you don’t. On an 80 degree day, the temperature inside of a car can rise 20 degrees in as little as 10 minutes and keep getting hotter with each passing minute. So, imagine what happens when the temperature outside is 100 degrees or more. Keep in mind that leaving a window open or being in the shade won’t help. Young children are particularly at risk, as their body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s. When a child’s internal temperature gets to 104 degrees, major organs begin to shut down. And when that child’s temperature reaches 107 degrees, the child could die. It’s not worth it.

Pools are fun until they’re not. Water safety is important. You may have heard that drowning is the second most likely cause of death for kids 1-4 years of age (only after birth defects), but did you know that 69% of drownings occur during non-swim times? This means most drownings occur during unexpected and unsupervised access to water. Toddlers are, by nature, curious and active. Water safety is important at all ages, but especially for mobile children under 4. Make sure your toddlers don’t have access to indoor and outdoor standing water (i.e. swimming pools, hot tubs, bathtubs, natural bodies of water such as ponds, buckets filled with water, toilets, birdbaths, etc.). Swimming lessons are encouraged. All children should wear a life-jacket when near lakes and rivers, even if they can swim.

Water should be a food group. Make sure your kids drink plenty of water while in the heat of summer, even if they don’t feel thirsty. If possible, avoid activity during the hottest part of the day. Stay hydrated.

References:, an American Academy of Pediatrics website–Manufacturing/Business-Education/Business-Guidance/Bicycle-Helmets/

Summer Water Safety

Playing in pools, lakes, ponds, and rivers can be a blast, but water can also be dangerous. Almost 1,000 kids die each year by drowning. In fact, it is the second leading cause of accidental death in young children.

Kids need constant supervision around water. Always watch children closely when they’re in or near any water. Young children can have problems even in very shallow water. If you or your children cannot swim we recommend taking lessons. We also recommend investing in proper-fitting, US Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices. Kids should wear them whenever they are near water. Always follow the recommendations on the labels to ensure a proper fit. For kids younger than 5 years old, choose a vest with a strap between the legs and head support.

Be aware of water temperatures before you enter any water. Avoid swimming in very cold or hot water. If you or your child is shivering to get out of the water and warm up. Also remember to secure your pools, ponds, spas, and hot tubs so children cannot enter them without adult supervision. No one should swim alone. Children and adults should not run or rough-house around pools. Never dive into any water unless you know the depth. Be aware of jagged rocks, branches, broken glass, and other hazards below the surface. Be mindful of obstacles, waves, and currents. Avoid swimming in inclement weather especially if there is lightning.

Water illnesses can happen when someone has contact with, swallows, or breathes in water that is contaminated with germs. Kids with diarrhea should not swim. Young children should wear swim diapers and elastic-banded tight-fitting swimwear over the top. Provide frequent bathroom breaks for kids who are already toilet trained. Avoid and discourage urinating in the water. Remember to wash yours and your children’s hands after using the bathroom or changing diapers. After swimming, dry the ears well with a towel/washcloth, tilting each ear down to help water drip out of the ear canal. This can help prevent Swimmer’s Ear (an infection due to trapped water in the ear canal).

It is a good idea to learn CPR and know where rescue equipment is located and understand how to use it. Contact a lifeguard or call 911 if an emergency arises and teach your kids to do the same.

Haley Pledger, PA
Women’s Care
Matthew Walton, DO
Austin Bills, DO
Family Medicine
Aaron Fausett, PA
Family Medicine
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