School’s out – earlier than expected this year – and the kids are ready for some summer fun! Whether organized sports resume this summer remains to be seen, but even in the wake of COVID-19 the summer months provide the perfect opportunity to spend lots of time outside being active. Whether it’s swimming, hiking, biking, sports camps or just hitting the park, there’s something for every kid
With the increased outdoor fun comes increased risk of injury. It’s important to be aware of the potential dangers in summer sports and to take steps to stay safe while having fun. Here’s a look at some of the most important.
Helmets should be worn whenever a child is on wheels. This includes bicycles, scooters, skates, rollerblades and skateboards. The helmet must fit properly and be sport specific. Find out more about fitting bike helmets properly at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.Oh, and as kids look to you for their behavior cues set a good example and wear a helmet yourself too!
Adult supervision of younger children at all times is of paramount importance to keep them safe. No child is ‘drown proof.’ For older kids, make sure they understand the dangers of diving into shallow pools or unknown water. If you have a pool at home ensure all pool drains have covers, as suction from pool and spa drains can trap an adult or child under water.
The best line of defense against the harmful effects of the sun is covering up. Kids should put on hats, sunglasses and you could even consider purchasing SPF-rated clothing.
Kids of all ages – and even adults – should limit sun exposure during peak-intensity hours (between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.) and use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater that protects against UVB and UVA rays, and apply it both on sunny and cloudy days. Heading to the beach? Use extra caution near water and sand as they reflect UV rays and may result in a quicker sunburn than you expect.
Hydration and Heat Safety
Keeping well hydrated is very important for everyone, but especially for active kids. Children should be reminded to drink and younger kids helped by Mom and Dad to learn how much to drink. As a general rule of thumb a child weighing 90 lbs should drink 5 oz of cold tap water every 20 minutes, and an adolescent weighing 130 lbs should drink 9 oz every 20 minutes, even if they say they don’t feel thirsty.
On hot days, to stay on the safe side gymnastics and sports practice and outdoor games should be shortened and more frequent water breaks are a must. Most importantly, kids of all ages and adults should seek medical attention immediately for any signs of heat-related illness, especially if they have been very active as sunstroke is no joke.