Summer has arrived and the warm weather and longer days give families a chance to leave lockdown and get active outside.
But with outdoor fun comes more opportunity for summer injuries, especially if your kids have spent much of their enforced staycation in sedentary mode. In addition to nature-related injuries and illnesses, such as tick bites and sunburn, common summer injuries can include everything from mild bumps and bruises to more serious concussions and broken bones.
Here, find some of the most common summer injuries plus learn how you can help prevent them:
- Playground injuries. Summer vacation often includes time spent on the playground at the local park or on the backyard jungle gym. Unfortunately, a wrong slip on the monkey bars, slides or swings can lead to fall-related fractures and head injuries, even if the equipment is maintained properly. Prevention tips: Playground falls are inevitable, but a playground built over soft surfaces like rubber or wood chips can minimize the risk of severe injury. Avoid playgrounds on concrete or gravel. Active supervision is also important; you might be able to help prevent a fall if you’re close.
- Overuse injuries. During the summer, travel teams or sports camps may be in full swing (even during a pandemic summer). Overuse injuries, including tendonitis or shin splints, can be painful and prevent your children from participating in their sports. Shoulder and elbow overuse injuries are especially common in baseball players and pitchers because of the repetitive throwing motion. Prevention tips: Minimize overuse injuries in kids and teenagers by encouraging them to play more than one sport. Cross-training can help prevent ligament injuries in the knee, shoulder and elbow. If your child has been camped in the basement playing video games, it’s important to help them gradually return to their sports.
- Bicycle injuries. One of the most common summer injuries are bike accidents. Warmer weather provides more opportunities for your family to ride together, but, a bike accident can be dangerous, resulting in scrapes, cuts, fractures, concussions or even death. Prevention tips: According to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, you can avoid serious head injuries from bike crashes by wearing a helmet. Minimize injury from falls with other protective gear, such as knee and elbow pads.
- Trampoline injuries. Jumping on a trampoline can lead to bloody noses, bruises, concussions and fractures. Prevention tips: Many trampoline injuries involve a collision between two or more people, so one of the best ways to minimize the risk of injury is to allow only one person on the trampoline at a time. Attach a net around the outside of the trampoline to reduce falls.
- Water injuries. Swimming in a pool, lake or ocean is great exercise but water-related injuries can be deadly. Drowning is the second most common cause of death by unintentional injury from kids between the ages of one and four, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is particularly troubling news for African Americans; a full 70 percent of us can’t swim. And, even good swimmers can get injured in and around water-related activities like diving and boating. Prevention tips: Adult supervision is the most effective way to prevent drowning accidents. Stay within arms reach when your kids are in or around the pool. If your family is on a boat participating in or watching water sports, make sure everyone wears a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.