August 6, 2020
Clinical Contributors to this Story
Frank Cunningham, M.D. contributes to topics such as Pediatric Emergency Medicine.
During the summertime, kids just want to play.
“After months of being cooped up due to COVID-19, children need to enjoy summertime and just be kids,” says Frank Cunningham, M.D., a pediatric emergency medicine physician at JFK Medical Center.
Here are four of the most common injuries seen in our pediatric emergency departments and tips to prevent them:
Falls and playground injuries
According to Dr. Cunningham, falls are the most common type of childhood injury seen in the pediatric emergency department. “Falling is a normal part of child development as children learn to walk, climb and explore the world around them, but there are many things parents can do to keep their children safe.”
As playgrounds reopen again across the state, here are some things you can do to help make it a safe visit:
- Make sure your child’s clothing is free of drawstrings, which can get tangled in playground equipment.
- Check the play area for safety hazards, such as rusty or broken equipment and uneven surfaces; playgrounds that are well maintained pose fewer safety risks.
- Ensure your child is wearing proper footwear and that the shoes are securely fastened.
“We always worry about swimming-related accidents in the summer,” says Dr. Cunningham. “Parents and caregivers should never be out of reach of a child in the water – at home in the bathtub or at the pool or beach.” Parents should also remember to empty wading pools and containers of water after use – even coolers with melted ice and trash cans that have collected rainwater present a risk for accidental drowning.
Helmets save lives and provide the best protection against brain injury. “Before your child goes biking, talk to them about keeping the following safety tips in mind,” Dr. Cunningham recommends. “Always wear a helmet, keep both hands on the handlebars, avoid riding at night and obey all traffic laws.” According to a New Jersey state executive order, masks can be removed during anaerobic and aerobic activity, such as biking, running, walking, etc.
Because children and parents are home now more than ever this summer due to COVID-19, household accidents are on the rise.
“Scan your home for potentially dangerous items for your children, such as open or unlocked windows and unanchored furniture,” Dr. Cunningham advises.
Do not rely on a window screen to prevent falls; keep your windows locked and consider installing window guards or a device to prevent the window from opening more than 4 inches. You should also make sure your furniture is properly anchored to the wall.
When an accident happens
Do not delay care. When unsure about the seriousness of a medical condition, Dr. Cunningham recommends seeking medical attention. “It’s best to let the experts evaluate the severity of a situation,” says Dr. Cunningham. “If it turns out to be nothing, you’ve lost a little time at the beach or playing outside. If it’s something worse, you could have potentially saved a life.”
Resources and Next Steps:
- Meet our clinical contributor: Frank Cunningham, M.D.
- To make an appointment with a doctor near you, call 800-822-8905 or visit our website.
- 5 Questions About Face Masks
- Ways to Help Kids Cope with Coronavirus Fears
- Taking Kids to the Emergency Department During the COVID-19 Outbreak
The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.