SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The summer months can pose a lot of risks to your kids. WSAV went to the Emergency Room at St. Joseph’s Hospital to get the Top 5 Safety Threats facing your kids this summer.
“Summer’s great, summer’s fun, but it is also hard work… for everyone,” says Savannah mom Adrienne Bell.
Summer is on its way and for moms & dads everywhere that means the kiddos are out of school and outside to play…
“You are in charge for the majority of the day and its a little bit of a shocker,” says Bell.
She’s ahead of the game when it comes to keeping her 6 year old son Hal safe and sound. She just graduated with her nursing degree. But on just her one street in Ardsley Park there are 26 children. That means everybody pitches in.
“Rules of the block are that parents really take care of everyone else’s children too,” she says.
We wanted a list of the Top 5 Summer Safety Threats. So we paid a visit to St. Joseph’s Hospital and Emergency Physician Jeff Kenney to get some tips for Bell and other parents tying to keep the kids safe while enjoying the time outdoors.
“Out playing like they should be, enjoying the water, enjoying the outdoors,” says Dr. Kenney. “But in those places are mosquitoes and sun.”
Dr. Kenney’s been manning this Emergency Room for 8 years and he’s seen it all. Last week Ben told you about keeping your kids safe at the beach. But it turns out Especially Summer Safety Threat #1 can also be dangerous inland, that’s Sun Burn.
“Avoid the sun, essentially, especially during peak hours from 11 a.m. to 4,” says Dr. Kenney. “The best thing to do is stay in the shade.”
Dr. Kenney says keep your kids covered up. Use a minimum SPF 15 and reapply every two hours.
Bell is helping us out with Summer Safety Threat #2 Dehydration.
“Especially in Savannah where you’ve got the heat index well over 100 for the majority of the summer,” says Bell. “Hydration is huge for us. We’ve got to make sure we have Gatoraid or water.”
Bell says the neighborhood kids always know which parents are home to grab that vital help staying hydrated. Dr. Kenney says dehydration can also lead to heat stoke and both can mean a trip to the hospital.
Summer Safety Threat #3 is a kid favorite — Bounce Houses and Trampolines
“The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that children under six don’t even go in bounce houses due to the frequency of injuries and then kids who do, they recommend it’s supervised,” says Dr. Kenney.
Dr. Kenney says flips and roughhousing are no, nos and that kids bouncing together need to be the same height and weight.
Summer Safety Threat #4 is Bicycle Injuries. Dr. Kenney says it’s vital to teach kids about signaling and watching for traffic, but also to make sure your kids are wearing helmets.
“Fitting a helmet is important and a couple easy tips on fitting a helmet is when you put it on you need to make sure the chin strap is secured properly,” he says.
Kenney says no more than two fingers should fit between the strap and the chin.
Summer Safety Threat #5 is Fireworks. Dr. Kenney says children must never handle fireworks and shouldn’t be standing next to you when you do. But a popular firework often thought safe, isn’t necessarily so.
“A lot of people don’t realize that a sparkler burns at 1000 degrees,” says Dr. Kenney. “So you have a little kid burning a sparkler and they tough the tip or drop it and step on it they’ll get a pretty serious burn.”
Back in Ardsley Park Adrienne says parents on the block all keep first aid items and an eye on each other’s kids.
“As long as they are playing safe and you have helmets and sunscreen and Bandaids and they’re having a load of fun, that’s what’s most important,” says Bell.
But ultimately she says the biggest help for summer safety… is when school starts in the fall.
“I think for every parent when they hear school’s back on Monday we’re like woo hoo,” she says.
Here are three more bonus summer safety threats from Dr. Kenney.
Dr. Kenney says viruses like Zika and West Nile are always a concern. Avoid being outside at dusk at dawn and use a mosquito repellent with deet or prometherine.
Jelly Fish Stings:
“The ones you get into trouble with primarily hit late July into early August which are the sea nettles and the sea wasps which are the ones that can give the more severe stings,” he says.
Dr. Kenney says don’t rub a sting with sand or a towel. Instead rinse it with seawater or vinegar. He says running the sting under hot water for 20 minutes can greatly reduce the sting.
Dr. Kenney’s advice goes against most instincts. He says when you see a child in trouble in the water the best way to help is to throw them a lifeline or bouy unless they’re extremely small.
“They’re panicking,” he says. “All they want to do is get above the water. They’re gonna climb on you and push you under.”