Health & Fitness

Safety tips as summer approaches

Kim Molik
Kim Molik

Summer is approaching quickly. Soon, days will be filled with biking, swimming, and playground activities. In order to enjoy the warm long days safely, it is important to remember some tips.

When riding your bike around town, always remember to wear a helmet. Wearing a properly fitting helmet reduces the chance of a head injury by nearly 50 percent. Bike helmets can be ordered on websites that allow kids to individualize and decorate the helmet. This may improve the willingness of the kids to wear them. Additionally, parents should wear helmets, too. Try to wear bright clothes in the evening and ride on sidewalks to help prevent being hit by a car.

When going swimming, many factors are important to remember. Drowning remains a leading cause of death in the United States. Drowning is actually a silent event and may occur in as little as a minute. It is important to not leave children unsupervised in a pool. Also, do not assume a lifeguard will be able to save your child if he/she begins to drown. Life jackets need to be worn while on boats or other water devices. Make sure your child has taken swimming lessons before allowing them to be in the water. There are many swimming classes available throughout Wichita. If possible, learn CPR in the event that your child or a friends child struggles in the water.

With the increasing temperatures comes the risk of heat-related illness. Heat exhaustion occurs when people who are not adjusted to hot temperatures exercise or work in a hot, humid environment, losing a combination of fluids and electrolytes. Lack of hydration may cause a problem with the body’s circulation. Children who play outside in the heat for long periods or participate in strenuous athletic activities may not drink enough water. Parents should ensure their child is very well-hydrated and takes frequent breaks to rehydrate and cool off.

Heat stroke can develop rapidly and is life threatening. The body fails to regulate its own temperature, which may rise to 105 F or higher. There may be difficulty breathing, convulsions, confusion, a fast heart rate, and skin that is red, hot and dry. This is a medical emergency. Infants, children under age 4, the elderly, and the overweight are more likely to suffer from heat-related illness. Parents should be aware of their child’s hydration and the risks of exercising in extreme heat or heat with high humidity.

Lastly, playgrounds are a great source of fun for kids of many ages. However, many injuries can occur on playgrounds. Here are some tips to keep kids safe:

Make sure the playground is on rubber, mulch or another “soft surface,” not asphalt, concrete or blacktop.

Examine the equipment to make sure it is in good condition and has no obvious broken parts.

Make sure your child is playing on equipment appropriate for their age and developmental and physical capabilities. Toddlers should use swings specifically designed for them.

Look for guardrails to prevent accidental falls from higher surfaces.

Assess how close to the street the playground is to try to prevent any running into the street.

Dr. Kim Molik is a pediatric surgeon with Wesley Pediatric Surgery Clinic, and she is Wesley’s pediatric trauma medical director. For more information about concussions or to schedule a consultation, please call 316.962.2085 or visit wesleymc.com.
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