Loyola University Health System Pediatrician Gives Summer Safety Tips
MAYWOOD, Ill. – Unintentional injuries are the number one cause of death in children in the United States. In fact, 2,000 children die each day from preventable injuries. With the summer months come an increased number of injuries.
“Kids are outside more, out of school and less supervised which results in more injuries,” said Dr. Karen Judy, associate professor of pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. “Kids, especially toddlers, are impulsive and often are not aware of dangers like cars. They can chase after a ball into a street or jump off playground equipment that is too high.”
According to Dr. Judy adult supervision is the best preventative measure.
“It’s important for children to get outside, be active and enjoy the nice weather, but it’s a parent’s responsibility to know what their child is doing and to keep them safe,” said Judy.
Just as important, they need to be examples of safety including wearing helmets while on bicycles and life jackets while boating.
“Setting an example is what parenting is all about. Take safety measures yourself and be firm. No helmet – no bike,” said Judy.
Here are a few tips to keep your kids safe while enjoying some summer activities.
Wheeled activities such as bicycle riding:
1. Make sure your child is wearing a helmet that is approved by American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or meets the Snell helmet safety standards. This will ensure it is crash resistant.
2. Purchase a helmet at a bicycle shop and have it fitted to your child’s head. It must fit snugly, go over the forehead and cover the back of the head.
3. If a helmet is dented or cracked get a new one.
4. Make sure your child is wearing additional protective gear for the activity such as knee and elbow pads and wrist guards for skateboarding.
5. Remind them to be extra careful around driveways and a child must be older than 10 to ride in the street.
6. Always know where your child is going and make sure he or she is not too far from home.
1. Make sure you child is supervised while on the playground.
2. Undersurfaces should be made of an absorbent material like wood chips and sand, not grass or cement.
3. If there is broken equipment, don’t let your child play, and report it immediately.
4. Home swing sets can be especially dangerous. Make sure there are no strangulation hazards.
5. Playground equipment should be no higher than 5-6 feet off the ground.
1. Make sure an adult is watching children around all water areas including pools, lakes and piers for children of all ages and bathtubs for infants and toddlers.
2. Swimming lessons for children under the age of 5 are not effective.
3. Young children should be within arm’s reach of an adult at all times.
4. Home pools must have a 4-foot fence around the entire pool with a self locking gate.
5. Everyone, including teens and adults, should wear lifejackets while boating.
6. Make sure you have safety rules about docks and piers. Children should wear life jackets on docks and piers even when not getting in the water.
“The importance of supervision can’t be overstated. Serious injuries and even death can happen so quickly. Most drowning incidents happen when a child has been out of a parent’s sight for less than 5 minutes,” said Judy. “There is no age that doesn’t need to be supervised.”
Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus, Loyola University Hospital, is a 569-licensed-bed facility. It houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children’s Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 264-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.