Tips for Staying Safe on the Playground
Springfield, Pa.-- With the hot, humid weather bearing down on us in July, the safety of our children should be a major concern. With these hot temperatures come long days spent at local playgrounds and sports fields.
The main focus for both activities is child safety. But what as parents can we do to prevent injuries from happening to our kids, whether they’re sliding into home plate or hanging from the jungle gym at the local playground? What precautions do we have to take to ensure our children’s safety?
Gregory Cuculino, M.D., chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Taylor and Delaware County Memorial Hospitals, believes that there are things you can do to protect your child even before stepping out on the field or playground. “Protection from the sun is one of the precautions that are commonly over looked by parents when dealing with child safety,” Cuculino says. “SPF is key in the prevention of skin cancer.
“Eliminate heat exhaustion/dehydration by loading up on plenty of water,” Cuculino adds. Heat exhaustion or dehydration will show many obvious signs, such as dizziness, nausea, headache, fatigue, muscle cramping and weakness, so make sure to keep your kids properly hydrated. Make sure your child drinks 12 ounces of fluids before participating in sports or going on the playground, and even more when returning from those activities to make up for the loss of fluids. Do not wait for your child to tell you he/she is thirsty, so make a strong effort to take breaks between play to replenish the fluids they have already lost.
When the kids are on the playground, make sure to keep a watchful eye on them. “It is inevitable that children will fall and get hurt when on the playground because that is what kids do,” Cuculino says. “The only way to minimize those accidents is to keep an eye out for our kids at all times.”
When kids are on the field playing sports, it’s imperative for them to wear proper protective equipment. In addition, games should not be played in extreme weather conditions. “An Ounce of Prevention” is a set of rules that every league should enforce and that every parent should be aware of. If your league doesn’t follow these rules, then don’t be afraid to bring them to their attention.
“An Ounce of Prevention” states that:
- All players should wear appropriate protective gear, including polycarbonate eye protection or metal cages on helmets when batting.
- Coaches and officials need to monitor extreme weather conditions (such as heat or lightning) and postpone or cancel games if players are at risk.
- Coaches should have quick access to an automated external defibrillator in case a player suffers cardiac arrest, and should be prepared to call 911.
- Since children develop at different rates, repeated instruction and practice are essential for young baseball and softball players to acquire the basic skills of the game.
It is inevitable that kids will somehow hurt themselves, but there are things that can be done to ensure that we do our part. “As doctors, we see cases of head trauma in kids all the time,” Cuculino says. “If your child suffers a head injury, it is essential to bring him to a sports medicine physician or neurologist right away in order to prevent any further injury.”
Overall, the lesson to be learned is to prepare your children the best you can. Know how to keep your son or daughter safe from natural elements like the sun, and beware of the signs of injuries that involve the head or any other body part. Recognize differences in your child’s behavior after an injury on the playground or on the field. Don’t forget, keep a watchful eye!
For more information on emergency services at Crozer-Keystone Health System, call 1-800-254-3258 or visit http://er3.crozerkeystone.org You may also visit our Emergency Care Resource Center.