Falls continuously top a long list of childhood summer injuries.
Outdoor play is at its peak during the summer months, and kids’ fun and game blinders are firmly in place, putting them at risk for slips, falls, strains, sprains, and more.
Playground equipment, tree houses, and trampolines are high among the usual suspects for slips and falls during the summer.
They’re far from the only culprits, though. And while slips and falls are sometimes impossible to prevent – even when parents are standing right next to a child – there are some precautions you can take to reduce risk. Discuss the following tips with your children and take steps to mitigate the dangers.
- Be respectful of heights. Falls from treehouses and playground equipment can be severe, and sometimes fatal. Seek out playgrounds that use mulch or recycled rubber tire material for ground cover instead of concrete or blacktop. Treehouses should never be stationed more than 10 feet above ground. Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly encourages parents not to purchase a recreational trampoline for their backyards, and to prohibit their children from playing on a trampoline at friends’ homes.
- Give lawns time to dry after rainfall. Frequent storms can cause deceptively muddy patches of ground, resulting in gooey, sloppy slips and falls. Storms can also cause downed branches, limbs, and other yard debris that can trip up kids who are too busy playing to survey their immediate surroundings. Keep your yard clear of these obstacles – particularly when children are at play.
- Wet floors and running don’t mix. From swimming pools to water balloon fights to running through the sprinkler, summer water activities are a primary culprit for slips and falls. Water often gets tracked indoors and onto tile floors. Make sure your children understand the importance of walking in and around the pool and during other water-based events.
- Dress accordingly. Most summer footwear, like sandals and flip flops, do not have slip-resistant soles. Whenever possible, dress your child in shoes that that provide sufficient traction – like sneakers. Also: make absolutely certain that your child wears a helmet whenever biking and/or skating (skateboards, scooters, roller skates, etc.)
- Drink plenty of water. Falls often happen during hikes and other strenuous outdoor activity. Although it’s not often considered – dehydration is a huge cause of slips and falls. Children who forget to hydrate properly can become overheated, dizzy, and disoriented, and can take a nasty tumble onto rough terrain. Stress the importance of taking regular water breaks with your kids.
If attending to a child who has fallen, call 911 and do not attempt to move if she:
- Is unconscious
- Has possibly sustained injury to the head, neck, back, hips, or thighs
- Is breathing erratically – or is not breathing (if the child is not breathing, and you are certified, begin CPR)
- Is having a seizure
If the child is responsive and able to move:
- Use an ice pack for bumps and/or bruises
- Treat pain with acetaminophen or ibuprofen
- Monitor closely for 24 hours for unusual behaviors and/or symptoms, such as:
- Extreme sleepiness or difficulty staying awake
- Easily upset
- Frequent vomiting
- Head, neck, or back pain
- Inability to focus
- Difficulty walking
KinderMender treats a wide range of common minor injuries, including the bumps and bruises caused by slips and falls. We have bandages and salves to spare, as well as the professional knowhow to get your kids back up onto their feet in no time at all.