Tip Sheet: Have Fun This Summer While Staying Safe


Heat Safety for Young Athletes

Heat illness injuries are preventable, says Raj Deu, M.D., assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Ideally, athletes should avoid strenuous exercise in high temperatures,” Deu says. “If that is not possible, then proper preparation with heat acclimatization, maintenance of hydration, multiple breaks from activity and knowledge of medication side effects can save athletes from a potential life-threatening event.”

Deu shares the following reminders about sun safety and sports related heat injuries:

1.) Apply sunscreen approximately 20–30 minutes before outdoor activity to avoid getting a sunburn. Do not forget to reapply.

2.) To avoid dehydration, children need to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after athletic activity. Also, fluids must be readily available during activities, and children must be encouraged to drink them.

3.) All athletes need heat acclimatization prior to full scale athletic participation to increase heat tolerance and enhance the ability to exercise effectively.

4.) Do not be fooled by cooler weather. Athletes are still at risk from heat on days with high humidity.

5.) Be aware of your child’s medications and side effects. Certain medications, particularly those for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, can increase the risk of heat illness. 

Lawn Mower Safety

Most lawn mower injuries among children are serious but preventable. Keep toddlers inside when adults are mowing the lawn, and don’t allow children to ride lawn mowers — lawn tractors and zero-turn mowers are designed for one person. “Avoid the temptation of giving your grandchildren a spin around the yard,” says Richard Redett, M.D., director of pediatric plastic surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

 Redett also recommends the following to keep children safe when lawn mowers are in use:

1.) Always look behind you when reversing your riding mower.

2.) Don’t let children under age 12 operate a push mower.

3.) Don’t let children under age 16 run a riding mower.

4.) Wear proper clothing: heavy shoes, long pants and tight-fitting clothes.

5.) Remove stones, toys and debris from the lawn before mowing to prevent injuries from flying objects.

Water Safety

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says drowning is a leading cause of injury and death for young children ages 1 to 14. “Children should always be supervised when around any type of water including bathtubs,” says Leticia Ryan, M.D., M.P.H., director of pediatric emergency research at Johns Hopkins.

Ryan advises parents and guardians to do the following to keep their children safe at the pool or beach, in the bathtub or near any water:

1.) Always supervise children around water!

2.) Surround your outdoor pool with a four-sided fence.

3.) Talk to your children about the dangers of being in a pool when adults are not there.

4.) Enroll your child in swimming lessons.

5.) Enroll yourself in a CPR course.

To interview one of our experts, please contact Waun’Shae Blount at wblount1@jhmi.edu.

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