Summer fun can end quickly if you’re not careful

School is almost officially out, and with that comes plenty of time for your kids to play. But as they say, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Breaking a bone, getting a serious cut or getting a concussion -or worse- can take a lot of fun out of summer break.

“It’s easy for your kids to get excited about summer break and forget some safety tips,” said Geisinger pediatrician Kathleen Marie Noss, DO. “Spend some time going over safety precautions at the end of the school year so you can prevent a trip to the emergency room during the summer.”

Careful on those monkey bars!
“Each year we see a number of broken bones and sprains from children who fall off playground equipment or use equipment that’s not suited for them,” said Dr. Noss.

Children should play on age-appropriate equipment and be supervised by adults at all times to prevent breaks, sprains, scrapes and bruises. They should wear closed-toe shoes and clothing free of strings or extra fabric that could get caught in certain equipment.

Before your kids run off to swing or hang on the monkey bars, look for loose ropes, cords or chains and remove them from the playground—they can lead to accidental strangulation or other injuries.

Protect your noggin when biking, skateboarding or blading
Every hour 50 kids head to the emergency room with an injury from riding a bike or scooter, skating or skateboarding. No matter how confident you and your children feel on a piece of wheeled equipment, you should sport protective gear.

Rollerbladers, skaters and bikers should all wear helmets. Be sure to buy a new helmet—one that’s used may be weaker and provide less head protection.

Both kids and adults should also wear wrist guards and knee and elbow pads when skateboarding, rollerblading or skating.

Look both ways and stay on the sidewalk
The summer is an excellent time to encourage your kids to put down smartphones and tablets and go outside to play. Whether they’re heading out to play a friendly game of basketball in the driveway or playing capture the flag with the neighbors, there are some general safety rules to follow.

Many children, especially young ones, don’t realize they could get seriously injured or even die by playing in the driveway near a car. Parents should also take a few minutes to look around the car before getting in it to go somewhere.

Kids should also keep clear of streets—no matter how “quiet” a street may be. Remind your kids to look both ways when crossing the street and to stay on sidewalks. Don’t let them play in the street. 

Is it bleeding? Is it broken?
No matter how many precautions you take, your kids will likely experience a cut, bruise or fall. If your child does get hurt playing outside this summer, keep in mind these first aid tips:

• First, apply pressure to cuts to stop the bleeding; if a cut doesn’t stop bleeding within ten minutes, is deep or has jagged edges, you should get medical attention.
• Clean scrapes and minor cuts thoroughly with cool running water or a wound wash. Use a washcloth with soap to clean around the cut or scrape but avoid getting soap in the cut because it could cause irritation.
• Cover the cut or scrape with a bandage.

It’s also important to know how to spot a broken bone. Common symptoms include pain, swelling, bruising and numbness. Your child might also have a bump or deformity where the bone is broken. And in the case of a broken arm or leg, your child may not be able to straight their limb, walk or lift things.

“If you think your child has a broken bone, call your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately to get an X-ray. It’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Dr. Noss.

Geisinger pediatrician Kathleen Noss sees patients at Geisinger Pittston. To make an appointment for your child with Dr. Noss or another Geisinger pediatrician, please call 800-275-6401 or visit Geisinger.org.

child arm in cast