Summer Brings More Child Visits to ER [AUDIO]
Summer may be time for fun in the sun, but it's also one of the busiest times at local emergency rooms across New Jersey as more children spend time outdoors riding bicycles and scooters, swimming and playing sports.
Despite the increased risks, there are a number of preventative measures parents can take to try and protect their kids.
"We see a lot of incidents happening not only while children are riding bikes and scooters, but also while playing on the playground. We've already started seeing some children in the emergency room who have suffered injuries on the playground," said Diana Starace, injury prevention coordinator at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and director of Safe Kids Middlesex County.
Starace said one of the most common playground injuries result from jungle gym falls. She said kids think they can get across to the other end, but get tired and fall about halfway there.
Injuries from bikes or scooters are also common, but many serious injuries can be prevented when kids wear a helmet. "If they've got wheels under their feet, there should be a helmet on their head. Even if they are hot and sweaty and they want to take it off for a short time, it's important that they keep it on their head," Starace said.
Water activities also present several dangers for children, and parents should always know their child's abilities in the water. If there are a number of children swimming, there should be more than one parent watching them.
If you are heading to the beach, it's important for parents to educate their children about riptides. "Riptides are very common along the Jersey Shore. If you don't know what to do when you get stuck in one, you can easily get pulled under," Starace said.
In addition, Starace said children who can't swim should wear a life jacket, regardless as to whether they are in a pool or in the ocean.
Starace stressed that a lot of injuries can be prevented by parents actively supervising their kids. "You can't just send them outside or send them to the beach and expect that for an hour or so, they are going to be out there by themselves and doing the right thing. Kids like to explore and be curious, so it's important to provide supervision."