Top 5 Outdoor Injuries: Tips for Prevention

As the weather is finally getting warmer, your kids are probably itching to get outside to play. Before you usher them out the door to run amuck, please take five minutes to review the following list of the top 5 outdoor injuries and what you can do to help keep your kids safe.

  1. Head injuries related to bicycles, skateboards and scooters
    • Fast facts: More children ages 5 to 14 are seen in emergency departments (EDs) for biking-related injuries than any other sport. More than 80,000 ED visits nationwide each year for skateboarding injuries.
    • How to protect them: “Put a Lid on It” – Teach your children to wear a helmet every time they go out. Helmets reduce the risk of brain injuries by 88 percent. Model the behavior and wear a helmet of your own if you bike with your children.
  2. Falls from playground equipment
    • Fast fact: Falls account for more than 75% of all playground-related injuries.
    • How to protect them: Take your kids to playgrounds with shock-absorbing surfaces such as rubber, synthetic turf, sand, wood chips or mulch. Actively supervise your children as they play.
  3. Drowning
    • Fast fact: Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among children ages 1-4.
    • How to protect them: Actively supervise children in and around open bodies of water – at the beach, community pool, backyard pool, even ornamental ponds and baby pools. Teach your children how to swim and make sure that you and other supervising adults know CPR.
  4. Sports-related injuries – heat exhaustion especially
    • Fast fact: In 2013, more than 1.24 million children ages 19 and under were seen in EDs for injuries related to commonly played sports.
    • How to protect them: Encourage kids to stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water before, during and after play. Make sure they stretch before practice and games.
  5. Heatstroke in hot vehicles
    • Fast fact: On average, every eight days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle.
    • How to protect them: Remember to A.C.T.
      • Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car – not even for a minute. Keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in on their own.
      • Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child that you will need at your final destination – a briefcase, purse or cell phone works well. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.
      • Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911 immediately. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. You could save the life of a child.

We want kids to play and exercise outside as much as they can and do not want you to keep them from the activities that they love because they might get hurt. But with knowledge comes power to protect them – at least to an extent – and hopefully keep them outside playing and not visiting us in the emergency department!

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact our Comprehensive Children’s Injury Center.

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Dawne Gardner

About the Author: Dawne Gardner

Keeping kids safe is Dawne’s passion. As an Injury Prevention Specialist and Ohio Certified Car Seat Technician for the Comprehensive Children’s Injury Center at CCHMC, Dawne educates and trains families, community organizations and employees on best practices for the prevention of pediatric unintentional injury. Utilizing her MBA and experience in community engagement, she helped develop and implement community outreach that has been shown to measurably decrease the frequency of pediatric home injuries treated in our local emergency rooms. Dawne is dedicated to providing effective injury prevention outreach that will help keep children safe in the places they live and play.

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