BHealthy Blog

Keeping Your Kids Safe and Healthy This Summer

School is out and our local parks, trails and neighborhoods will soon be filled with kids looking for fun ways to spend their summer breaks.  Baptist Health pediatricians see a wide variety of injuries among their patients during the summer months. Here are three of the most common summer safety topics to consider before sending your child out the door to play.

Arkansas Heat

Whether those activities involve splashing around a pool or practicing at the ball fields, extended time in the sun and heat can put kids at risk for injury. Make sure your children dress in loose, light-weight, light-colored clothing when playing outdoors. Staying hydrated will also reduce their risk of heat-related illnesses. It’s important to make sure your kids stay hydrated by drinking more water than usual. Having low-sugar drinks like flavored waters, Pedialyte or Gatorade on hand is also important if your children are going to spend more time outdoors.  Heat-related illness happens when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded. The body normally cools itself by sweating. But under some conditions, sweating just isn’t enough. Illnesses include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat rash and sunburn. Children of all ages are at risk when exposed to excessive amounts of time in the sun and heat. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are the more serious illnesses and symptoms can include:
  • Heavy sweating
  • Changes in pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Headache
  • Red, hot skin
  • Muscle cramps
Cool showers and baths can often soothe some of the symptoms of heat exhaustion. But if symptoms last longer than an hour or if your child experiences these symptoms and a temperature of more than 103 degrees Fahrenheit, they may be suffering from heat stroke and you should call 9-1-1. 

Heads Up!

Concussions are often thought of as a sports-related injury, but there are many activities that can lead to a head injury such as falling off a slide, swing or trampoline.  Pediatricians stress that children should wear helmets, as well as elbow and knee pads when riding bicycles, scooters or skateboards to avoid serious injuries. Symptoms of a concussion can include severe pain or headache, confusion, nausea or vomiting, slowness to respond and sensitivity to light. If symptoms do not pass after the child has calmed down or they get worse, contact your child’s physician or visit an emergency room. 

Healthy Swimming

Drowning is a leading cause of death in children under 4, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Studies show that the best time for a child to start learning swimming basics is between the ages of 1 and 4. Even if a child has had formal swim lessons, it’s still important to use other safety precautions and to be supervised by an adult at all times. Children should always wear life jackets when swimming in pools, lakes or any deep body of water.   Another topic for parents to be aware of is recreational water illness (RWIs). These are illnesses caused by germs and chemicals found in the water we swim in. RWIs are spread by swallowing, breathing in mists or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks and natural water reservoirs. Diarrhea is one of the most common recreational water illnesses. Children take bathroom breaks when playing in the water, and parents should regularly change infants’ swim diapers to avoid contaminating the water. For more ideas on how to keep your whole family active and healthy all summer long, visit the BHealthy blog at