Florida’s children are out of school and eager to take advantage of the summer. However, the summer – and hot Florida temperatures – can pose a number of risks to children:
1) Heat-related illness. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are a common problem in children, who tend to play outside in hot weather and may not take breaks for water. It is important to supervise children and take frequent rests for water or fruit juice drinks. Playing in a shaded area can also help.
2) Burn injuries. Many summertime Florida burn injuries involving children are caused by children touching hot playground equipment (such as slides) or other hot surfaces. Many sunburn injuries involving children are also reported each year. It is a good idea to apply sunscreen liberally and frequently and to test playground surfaces before letting children play on them.
3) Pool related injuries. Florida pool injuries are quite common, no doubt because many families have pools and many children head to public pools to cool down on hot summer days. If you have your own pool, it is important to keep it enclosed with a fence and self-closing, self-latching gate. Teach your children to swim at age four, so that they have the swimming skills to prevent drowning. Do not allow your children to swim in unsupervised swimming holes.
4) Insect bites. Small children can easily suffer from serious bites, which can quickly get infected. It is important to check daily for bites and ticks if your children play outdoors. Insect repellant can also be a useful way to help prevent bug bites.
5) Lawnmower injuries. Each summer, Florida children suffer from injuries caused by lawnmowers. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to now allow children younger than 12 years of age to operate a walk-behind mower and advises parents not to allow children than 16 years of age on a ride-on mower.
6) Head injuries. Many Florida head injuries each summer are caused by children who do not wear correct protective gear when bicycling, skateboarding, riding a scooter, or using heelys. Children should be outfitted with a quality helmet when engaging in any of these activities.