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Pediatric Nurse’s Guide to a Safe Summer for Kids

Gayle Morris, BSN, MSN
Updated June 3, 2022
    Pediatric nurse experts advise caregivers to take these steps to avoid accidents and injuries that can ruin summer fun.
    Credit: Getty Images

    Injuries are the leading cause of death in children. Summertime means more children are outside, enjoying the fresh air but also exposed to potential dangers.

    Some of the more common injuries that bring children to the emergency room in Orange County, California, according to one hospital, include head injuries, facial injuries, wrist and elbow fractures, and near-drowning.

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission published in 2021 reported the following:

    • Seventy-five percent of fatal child drownings were in children younger than 5 years old
    • Drowning was the leading cause of unintentional death in children ages 1-4 years
    • Eighty-three percent of drownings were in residential pools

    Find the top tips from nurses for your summer safety checklist to help keep kids safe and healthy during the summer months. Consider including these as you counsel families during the spring and summer before children go back to school in the fall.

    shield-checkPool and Water Safety Tips From Nurses

    Playing outdoors is an excellent way to get physical activity. Our experts caution caregivers to take special care when their children play around water. Christine Russo is a board-certified pediatric nurse practitioner who works with the pediatric trauma program at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.

    She offers seven water safety tips for caregivers to take.

    shield-checkTips on Sun Care for Children

    It is important for caregivers to be sun smart because a serious burn can increase your child’s risk of skin cancer. A serious sunburn is also painful and can cause nearly a week of discomfort and sleepless nights.

    Pediatric nurses offer five tips on sun care for children.

    shield-checkKeeping an Eye on Child Hydration

    Jenna Liphart Rhoads, Ph.D., is a nurse educator, freelance author, and editor. She cautions caregivers to ensure their children have plenty of water to drink before, during, and after being outside.

    “Children often get swept away with having fun and will forget to drink or eat. Children who are swimming are usually not sweating, but they can also become dehydrated before too long, especially in the sun,” she warns.

    Pediatric nurses offer four tips on how to protect and maintain child hydration.

    shield-checkTips on Playground Safety

    Playgrounds are fun places for kids to play with their friends and get exercise but can be a risk to the safety of children.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 200,000 children are treated in the emergency department each year for injuries they receive on the playground. Approximately 45% of those are severe injuries that include fractures, concussions, amputations, and dislocations.

    Pediatric nurses offer five tips on playground safety.

    shield-checkBicycle Safety Recommendations from Nurses

    Bike riding is a great way for children to be more independent in their neighborhood. But it’s important to remember that a bicycle is a vehicle and not a toy. This is another important item to add to your summer safety checklist.

    Pediatric nurses offer four tips on bicycle safety this summer.

    shield-checkTips on Avoiding and Treating Bug and Tick Bites

    Bug and tick bites are also common during the summer months. Tick bites can lead to serious conditions such as:

    • Lyme disease
    • Tularemia
    • Rocky Mountain spotted fever

    Pediatric nurses offer four key ways to monitor and treat bug and tick bites this summer.

    shield-checkSummer Safety for Children and Technology

    Although you might not think of technology safety during the summer months when

    children are more likely to be outside and playing, it remains an important factor for your summer safety checklist.

    Pediatric nurses offer four ways to ensure child safety with technology this summer.

    shield-checkHow to Care for Summer Sicknesses

    Children may experience different types of sickness or illness during the summer months. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are not uncommon.

    Pediatric nurses provide four tips on monitoring summer sickness and advice on when to call the doctor.