Now that spring is in full swing, it’s a great time for children to spend time outside playing. More children ages 5 to 14 are seen in emergency rooms for injuries related to biking than any other sport.
Make sure that your kids ride a bike that’s appropriate for their size and wear a helmet that fits them. Little ones grow quickly, and will often outgrow their bike and/or helmet. Ensure your child knows how to put on their helmet correctly. The rim should be 1 to 2 finger-widths above the eyebrows, and straps should be flat against the chin.
When skating or skate boarding, make sure your kids wear a helmet, knee and elbow pads, and wrist guards.
When your kids are on the playground, actively supervise them. This means staying off your cellphone, especially since accidents can happen in a matter of seconds. Take a look around and take note that it’s safe and free of rusted or broken equipment and dangerous surfaces. Report problems to the owner of the park (city, church, etc.).
Keep small and large children on appropriate parts of the playground for their size. Kids 5 and under should stay on the side of the playground for smaller children so they don’t get shoved or trampled.
Unfortunately, children die each year from heatstroke because they were left in the car. Never leave a child alone in the car, even for a minute. Cars can heat up within 20 minutes, and leaving a window cracked isn’t enough to keep the interior cool. A child’s body heats up 3-5 times faster than an adult, which is why we need to act swiftly. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911.
A child is usually left in the car because of a change in routine. To make sure this doesn’t happen, create reminders. Leave your cellphone, purse or briefcase in the backseat. Make a plan with your spouse or partner to call or text when you reach your destination safely.
Leigha Jordan, MS, is the injury prevention coordinator for the trauma department at Cone Health. She also manages the activities of Safe Guilford, the injury prevention coalition for Guilford County, and provides outreach and education on child passenger, bike and pedestrian safety and fall prevention for older adults. Jordan received a Master of Science in health promotion from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2001.