Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine
Seasonal Safety Tips
Most injuries are preventable. Incorporating these precautions into your daily life will help to avoid life-altering accidents.
During all seasons
- Use your seat belt all the time.
- Use appropriately sized and installed car seats.
- Do not drink and drive.
- Follow the speed limit.
- Do not drive in poor weather or when tired.
- Consider becoming CPR certified.
Dealing with stinging insects
Although stinging insect allergy is a serious problem, much of the risk and the fear of recurrence can be virtually eliminated with proper medical attention. The insects responsible for most stings include yellow jackets, paper wasps, hornets, honeybees and fire ants. Learn to recognize and avoid these insects. If you are stung:
- Move away from the area where you encountered the insect to avoid a second attack.
- Brush the insect off your skin with a deliberate movement.
- If a stinger is present in your skin, remove it with one quick scrape of a fingernail. Honeybee venom sacs can continue to release venom for several minutes.
- Treat reactions such as redness, swelling, itching or discomfort near the site of the sting with cold compresses, antihistamines or calamine lotion.
- Get medical help immediately if you experience any one of the following symptoms of allergic reaction:
- Hives, itching, swelling in areas other than the sting site
- Tightness in the chest and difficulty breathing
- Hoarse voice or swelling of the tongue
- Dizziness, severe headache, nausea
- A sharp drop in blood pressure or loss of consciousness
- Both children and adults should wear a helmet that has a durable outer shell and a polystyrene liner. More than 95% of individuals killed in bicycle accidents were not wearing a helmet, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Injury Fact Book.
- Riding with the flow of traffic is not only recommended, its the law.
- Do not travel faster than your ability allows.
- Stop at stop signs. They are meant for bicycles as well as cars.
- Check for traffic before turning.
- Avoid water patches and wet debris such as leaves that can decrease braking ability.
- Avoid potholes and other debris.
- Make eye contact with other riders, drivers and pedestrians.
- Do not go swimming or supervise children who are swimming when: you have consumed alcohol; a storm threatens; boats or fishermen are operating in the immediate vicinity.
- Enroll children in swimming classes. Be sure instructors are qualified and experienced.
- Outdoor pools must have a childproof fence around them.
- Never swim alone and teach children never to swim without adult supervision.
- Do not dive into water without first checking its depth. Also check beneath water surface for obstructions.
- Know your limits. Do not try to swim too far or in hazardous conditions (such as a strong undertow).
- Know the basics of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
- Know and obey the rules when using any type of boat
- Keep boat properly equipped and maintained
- Never consume alcohol while boating
- Keep as many personal floatation devices (PFDs) as there are passengers in the boat. Adult non-swimmers and all children should wear PFDs at all times, and adult swimmers should have them immediately accessible if not wearing them.
- Do not overload boat.
- Be sure boat operator is qualified and familiar with the individual boat and how it works.
- Do not go boating in dangerous weather conditions
- If boat capsizes, stay with it until help arrives. Do not try to swim to shore.
Preventing heat exhaustion
Heat exhaustion is a condition whose symptoms may include heavy sweating and a rapid pulse, a result of your body overheating.
In most cases, you can treat heat exhaustion yourself by doing the following:
- Rest in a cool place. Getting into an air-conditioned building is best, but at the least, find a shady spot. Rest on your back with your legs elevated higher than your heart level.
- Drink cool fluids. Stick to water or sports drinks. Don't drink any alcoholic beverages, which can contribute to dehydration.
- Apply cool water to your skin. If possible, take a cool shower or soak in a cool bath. Don't use alcohol on your skin.
- Loosen clothing. Remove any unnecessary clothing and make sure your clothes are lightweight and nonbinding.
Heatstroke is more serious and can include a body temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, no sweating, confusion and disorientation, erratic behavior, agitation, seizures, coma and injury to body organs. Contact your doctor if your signs or symptoms worsen or if they don't improve within one hour. Seek immediate medical attention if your body temperature reaches 104 F (40 C) or higher.
- If designing an outdoor play area at your home, locate it so you can monitor activity from inside the house.
- Position play equipment on grass, sand or other soft surfaces
- Anchor equipment below the ground to prevent it from tipping
- Plane or sand rough wood to prevent slivers; file metal burrs smooth to avoid scraps. Discard equipment that is fragile or worn out.
- If allowing children to play on equipment that is not on your property, make sure it is safe and in good condition.
- Supervise young children at all times.
- Establish playground rules. For example, on the swings, just one person on the swing at a time, hold on with both hands, no standing or kneeling allowed.