Summer is nearly over and families are headed out for a final weekend of fun before fall hits! Before you throw “caution to the wind” and rush head on into the holiday weekend, don’t forget the basics. Check out pediatrician Dr. Spinelli’s list of simple (yet essential) safety reminders for you and your family:
Labor Day is coming up and families will be outside more as kids and parents alike are off for the long weekend. Here are a few simple safety tips to help ensure your weekend is enjoyable and not spent in the emergency room!
TIP #1: Water safety. Many families will choose to go to pools and/or lakes (or stay home to enjoy a pool in the back yard). Vigilance is important, especially around small children who cannot swim. Always make sure that a competent adult is paying attention to those in the water. It is very important that the supervising adult does not have his/her attention divided between too many things, as this affects their ability to truly watch the children. It is also important, if your family is headed to a lake or river, to encourage children to wear a life jacket at all times (not just while in the water, but when they are anywhere near the water as there is sill a potential danger). Even the most agile athlete (such as Michael Phelps) can benefit from wearing a life jacket if participating in a boating activity/sport; as a serious accident could render him unconscious (if you lose consciousness, you cannot swim!) Most boating accidents are accidents, but it never hurts to be prepared, as you may not be able to swim once in the water.
TIP #2: Burn precautions. Often times, grilling or cooking occurs during holiday weekends. Make sure small children (and even older children) are aware when there is a hot surface and are not ducking under or playing too close to hot surfaces. Sunburns can also be a significant issue. Always make sure that you and your family are wearing sunscreen if you plan on being outside more than 20 minutes.
TIP #3: Food safety. If you are sharing a large meal, try to be aware how long the food has been sitting out prior to consuming. Food poisoning is a frequent companion of holiday gatherings. If you’re not sure, just don’t eat it. Monitor for choking hazards as some foods may cause issues for smaller children.
TIP #4: Bike safety. If you are going on a family bike ride, don’t forget the helmets and water bottles! As always, stay safe and enjoy the holiday weekend!
*This post was updated Friday, August 29, 2014*
Christopher Spinelli DO, FAAP, is a pediatrician at the OCH Evergreen Clinic in Springfield, MO. Dr. Spinelli is also currently a Major in the United States Air Force Reserve. After completing an undergraduate degree from Truman State University, Dr. Spinelli graduated from Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his Pediatric residency at Keesler Medical Center in Biloxi, MS. To contact Dr. Spinelli, call 417-823-2900 or visit http://www.OCHonline.com.