Summer break is the perfect time to explore and play outside. However, with that, comes an increased chance of getting injured. Alok Patel, MD, Stanford Children’s Health pediatric hospitalist, says the most common summertime injuries include falls, sports injuries and drownings.
“Parents and caretakers should take a moment to consider all summertime and outdoor activities and take notes of injury prevention measures,” Dr. Patel says.
Cool off with these tips
The hot summer months can get to be too much for the little ones if they’re outside for too long, especially if they’re younger than 4. Dr. Patel says young children are not able to regulate their body’s temperature as well as adults. There’s also more of a chance to get sunburned. So, make sure children stay well hydrated, have sunscreen on, and are covered up, especially during peak sunshine hours, which typically run from 10 am-4 pm.
“Because of their age, heat stroke and dehydration can be harder to identify in young children,” Dr. Patel cautions. “Parents should be aware of the signs of heat stroke such as fever, redness, headache, confusion, nausea, or changes in breathing. Symptoms can progress to disorientation, loss of consciousness, seizures, and coma if left untreated.”
Don’t forget to stay active
As the temperatures rise, children may be drawn to stay inside. They also do not have the same scheduled physical education classes and recess as they normally would during the school year to get them moving.
Current CDC recommendations include a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day for those 6 and up and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends three full hours, or 15 minutes per hour, of physical activity per day for kids ages 3 to 5.
“We are certainly far from that as a society as a majority of adolescents do not meet physical activity guidelines,” says Tim Liu, Stanford Children’s Health physical therapist. “A recent WHO-led study found that 81 percent of those 11–17-year-old were insufficiently active.”
Liu mentions the many benefits that can come from exercise include increased metabolic health, increased cardiovascular fitness, improved bone density, and reduced chronic disease risk. To encourage activity, parents can see what interests their kids or offer a variety of options to see what their kids may be drawn to.
“With younger children, we’re likely to see better engagement if these activities are in settings where fun is the primary focus and they enjoy participation in the activity,” he says.
Dr. Anita Juvvadi outlines fun and safe activities kids and families can do this summer.
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injury prevention, pediatrics, sports medicine
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