The sun is shining, and children are having a blast on bicycle rides and pool days. But before kids head outdoors, parents should talk with them about staying safe.

“Summer is our busiest time for kid injuries,” says Phillip Devadan, MD, medical director of The Children’s Center at Chilton Medical Center. “Teaching your children about injury prevention will help both children and parents have a safe and fun summer.”

Here are four important summer safety tips:

Wear a helmet. New Jersey law requires children ages 17 and under to wear a helmet while bicycling. Children should also wear helmets while riding kick scooters, hoverboards and other toys with wheels. “Helmets reduce a child’s chances of a head injury by 85 percent,” Devadan says.

Appoint a “water watcher.” Drowning claims an average of 10 lives each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Never let children swim unattended. Appoint a designated “water watcher” to supervise children in the pool. Consider swimming lessons so kids know how to tread water. And install a four-foot-high fence with a locking gate around all home pools.

Look for heat-related injuries. “These could be more common this year because children aren’t as conditioned as normal after being less active last summer due to the pandemic,” Devadan says. Avoid the height of the sun (noon – 4 p.m.). Keep children under age 1 out of the direct sun. Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 for children ages 2 and older. Build-in indoor breaks and make sure children drink plenty of water.

Be careful on the playground. Parental supervision can help kids avoid the bumps, bruises, and more serious accidents, like wrist or elbow fractures, that can come from falling off the monkey bars or swings.

Head to your nearest ER if your child has signs of prolonged heat exposure (nausea, cramping, fever, cool and clammy skin), a concussion (persistent vomiting, increased irritability or seizures) or cuts that are more than 1 centimeter long and 1 millimeter deep.

Phillip Devadan, MD is medical director of The Children’s Center at Chilton Medical Center, Atlantic Health System.

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