Kids And Summer Dangers

Army Sgt. Josh Deveraux adjusts his Future Force Warrior high-tech combat outfit during the Army Soldier Modernization Day expo in the Rayburn House Office Building Wednesday, June 6, 2007, in Washington. The Future Force Warrior integrates GPS, advanced communications, body armor and other computer systems to help coordinate ground troops, aircraft and vehicles in the field.
GETTY IMAGES/Chip Somodevilla
Summer is the most dangerous time of year for children, because they are out of school and often lack adequate adult supervision.

CBS News Health Contributor Dr. Jordan Metzl offers tips on The Saturday Early Show about how to keep kids out of harm's way and gives advice on what to do if they do get hurt.

According to a new study by the National Safe Kids Campaign, children will be rushed to emergency rooms nearly three million times for serious injuries in the coming months. Many of the injuries will be preventable.

HEAD INJURIES:

The best way to prevent a head injury is to wear a helmet. Whether your child is riding a bike or scooter, they must wear a helmet. In the first 10 months of last year, more than 27,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for scooter-related injuries. Most of those hurt were under 15.

And in case you think these helmets don't work, consider this: A study on bicycle accidents out of Australia last year found they were 85 percent effective in preventing riders from losing consciousness.

The most common head injury among active children is a concussion or brain bruise. A child with a minor concussion will be dazed and glassy eyed. In this case, call your doctor. A child with a major concussion will be knocked unconscious. In this case go to the emergency room immediately.

SUN BURN:

One in five Americans will develop skin cancer but it is an easily preventable disease as long as you take the right precautions and avoid getting sun burned. In Australia, which has the highest skin cancer rates in the world, they have instituted a nationwide program to prevent sunburns that Americans may find useful. It's called slip-slop-slap.

Before a child goes outside he or she should SLIP on a shirt, SLOP on some sunscreen and SLAP on a hat.

There are several sunscreens made especially for children, most are waterproof. The sun protection factor (SPF) must be at least 15.

When applying sunscreen to a child, it is important to cover every part of the body that is exposed to the sun. That includes the ears and back of the neck, which are often overlooked.

Now if a child does get sunburned, you'll want to use a cool compress and apply aloe vera to the area. Aloe vera not only soothes the pain but also starts the healing process.

You may also want to consider giving the child an over-the-counter painkiller.

POISON IVY:

It has three leaves per cluster. A good expression you may want to teach your child is "leaves of three, leave them be."

The symptoms of poison ivy exposure are thick, itchy, dry, red patches of skin. To ease the symptoms, first wash with cold water, then give an oatmeal bath. But the bath should only be for a half an hour so the skin won't lose too many of the oils needed to heal.

The next step is to apply Caladryl, which contains an antihistamine to relieve the ithing as well as calamine, which dries up and begins healing the affected area.

BEE STINGS:

Bee stings can be very serious, especially if a child has a severe allergic reaction, which is called anaphylactic shock. Symptoms include wheezing, trouble breathing, rapid heart beat, nausea or loss of consciousness. If a child exhibits any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately.

If you know your child is allergic to bee stings you should keep an epi pen handy. It contains the drug epinephrine that counters severe allergic reactions. You need a prescription to get one.

For a child with a more minor reaction you may want to give them an antihistamine, which helps with the inflammation.
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