In This Pandemic Summer, Don’t Forget About Kids’ Other Risks

In This Pandemic Summer, Don’t Forget About Kids’ Other Risks


In This Pandemic Summer, Don’t Forget About Kids’ Other Risks

In This Pandemic Summer, Don’t Forget About Kids’ Other Risks

With the pandemic, children may not be going to community pools, where there would be lifeguards, and the home pool market has been booming. “A lot of people are getting new pools and first-time pools, so with that comes a responsibility for not only proper barriers and pool gates, but also proper supervision in an era of distraction,” Dr. Zonfrillo said.

Parents need to think about layers of safety, Dr. Agarwal said, such as having a four-foot tall fence around the entire pool, but also alarms. Parental supervision is key. “We recommend for younger children and not experienced swimmers that they should always be within arm’s reach,” Dr. Agarwal said. Parents should not assume they can rely on a lifeguard, who will have many swimmers to watch.

Even kiddie pools and shallow bodies of water can be dangerous, Dr. Zonfrillo said: “A toddler can drown in just a few inches of water.”

If you have a trampoline, supervise children carefully, follow all safety instructions, and make sure there is only one child on the trampoline at a time. Trampoline sales have gone up in the pandemic, and doctors have been very concerned about trampoline-related fractures and trips to the emergency room. “A bunch of kids on a trampoline can really cause a lot of injury,” Dr. Agarwal said.

Be mindful of bike safety, be vigilant about helmets. And remember that kids can get badly injured on scooters and on all-terrain vehicles, or ATVs. ATVs are very common, especially in rural communities, Dr. Agarwal said, and nationally, about four children are seen in an emergency department every hour with ATV injuries. She recently treated a child who had taken “every single precaution,” she said. “He was on a designated ATV recreational area, he had a helmet, he was supervised, he had no passengers — and yet he still managed to roll over his ATV on himself.” Bottom line: Although she understands their appeal, Dr. Agarwal said, “Don’t put your kid on an ATV.”

Take the summer sun seriously: Keep children in the shade as much as possible, use hats and protective clothing in addition to sunscreen. Apply lots of sunscreen, reapply it every couple of hours, and after children go in the water. Make sure children stay hydrated, especially if they’re exercising. Children who are engaged in athletics should start hydrating before they go out to practice, Dr. Agarwal said, and if they haven’t been practicing during the shutdown, they should ease back in, and be particularly careful about hydration and heat exposure when they go back to practicing.

Heat stroke is always a worry, especially vehicular heat stroke, which happens when small children are left in cars. Many doctors were worried that the pandemic might put children at additional risk, if parents who are reluctant to take them into stores leave them in vehicles. “In hot temperatures, the temperature in the car can rise within minutes,” Dr. Zonfrillo said. Ideally, parents should leave children at home while they do errands.


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