Disclosure :: this post is sponsored by Children’s Hospital.
Trauma is the leading cause of death in children after the first year of life, and summer is when we see an increase in injuries. In recognition of Trauma Awareness Month, below are 10 things you can do to help prevent injury to your child.
Tips to Prevent a Trip to the ER
1) Have your child wear a helmet if they are riding a bike, motorbike, ATV or skating. Falls are a leading cause of hospital admission. We frequently see head injuries in the Emergency Department at Children’s Hospital that could have easily been prevented by the use of a helmet. I often tell parents and children, “We can fix bones, but we still cannot fix a broken brain.”
2) Do not have children double ride on an ATV. We see numerous ATV injuries from more than one person riding the ATV and one of them falling off.
3) Wear shoes when riding a bike, not flip-flops or bare foot. Toes in the spokes is a nasty injury.
4) If you have a trampoline, only have one child jumping at a time and use an encircling barrier. Most of the injuries that come to us this way are from children falling off the trampoline or having another child land on top of them.
5) Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of traumatic death in Louisiana. Here are some car safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics to keep your child the safest:
- Always use a seatbelt.
- Children under 13 years old should ride in the back seat.
- Infants and Toddlers should remain in a rear-facing car seat until they reach 2 years old or the maximum height/weight for the car seat.
- Once they are no longer in a rear-facing car seat, they should remain in a 5-point restraint car seat until they reach the maximum height/weight of the car seat.
- Children should remain in a booster seat until they are 4 foot 9 inches tall and older than 8 years.
6) Check playground equipment for sharp edges and make sure it is not too hot. We frequently see burns from hot playground equipment during the summer.
7) If you think your child might have a concussion after hitting their head, have them evaluated by a physician. We are finding that concussions are causing longer term problems than we originally believed. Recently, we started a Concussion Clinic at Children’s Hospital to help concussed children.
8) Carry a small first aid kit with you in case you or your child gets injured. You can find small kits that will fit in a purse or backpack in the camping sections of Wal-mart, Target, and most sporting goods stores.
9) Teach your children about safely crossing the street and not riding their bike near traffic. We treat many children who were hit by cars while running or riding their bike across the street.
10) Lead by example and practice the above safety items yourself. Your child learns from watching you!
About Aaron Thompson, MD
I am a father of a 10-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son who have managed to avoid the Emergency Department by following the above tips. I am board certified in pediatrics, the Director of the Emergency Department at Children’s Hospital, and previously was a firefighter/EMT. I have been treating traumatic injuries since I earned my first aid merit badge as a Boy Scout.