Posts for category: Pediatric Safety
A hit to the head during a soccer game or a hard fall from skateboarding may result in a serious head injury and even a concussion. The American Academy of Pediatrics describes a concussion as any injury to the brain that disrupts normal brain function on a temporary or permanent basis. These injuries are typically caused by a blow to the head, most often occurring while playing contact sports such as football, hockey, soccer, wrestling or skateboarding.
For some children, concussions only last for a short while. Other times, a person can have symptoms of a concussion that last for several days or weeks following the injury. Not all symptoms of concussions will be obvious, and in some cases take several hours to set in. Look for these signs of a concussion if your child suffers a head injury:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Memory loss or confusion
- Poor concentration
- Vision problems
- Irritability or changes in mood
- Sensitivity to light or noise
Seek Medical Attention
If your child injures his head or you believe he may have a concussion, it is important that the child discontinues play immediately and visits a healthcare provider for an evaluation. All concussions are serious and should be monitored right away. A pediatrician can properly diagnose the concussion and its severity, and then make appropriate treatment recommendations.
Rest from all activities is the best treatment for concussions. Your pediatrician can make appropriate recommendations for when the child should return to future play. Recovery time depends on the child and the severity of the concussion.
Preventing Head Injuries
Not all head injuries can be avoided, but you can do a few important things to prevent them.
- Buckle Up. Make sure your child is properly buckled up in a seat belt, car seat or booster seat.
- Safety Gear. If your child plays sports, make sure he wears appropriate headgear and other safety equipment.
- Awareness. Children should be taught how to play safe and understand the importance of reporting any type of head injury to their parent or coach.
All head injuries should be taken seriously. Early detection and treatment is the best way to prevent serious complications. It’s never a bad idea to contact your pediatrician when you have questions or concerns about your child’s head injury.
- You or your child hears a snap or grinding noise as the injury occurs
- Your child experiences swelling, bruising or tenderness to the injured area
- It is painful for your child to move it, touch it or press on it
- The injured part looks deformed
What Happens Next?
- Call 911 - If your child has an 'open break' where the bone has punctured the skin, if they are unresponsive, if there is bleeding or if there have been any injuries to the spine, neck or head, call 911. Remember, better safe than sorry! If you do call 911, do not let the child eat or drink anything, as surgery may be required.
- Stop the Bleeding - Use a sterile bandage or cloth and compression to stop or slow any bleeding.
- Apply Ice - Particularly if the broken bone has remained under the skin, treat the swelling and pain with ice wrapped in a towel. As usual, remember to never place ice directly on the skin.
- Don't Move the Bone - It may be tempting to try to set the bone yourself to put your child out of pain, particularly if the bone has broken through the skin, do not do this! You risk injuring your child further. Leave the bone in the position it is in.
Even though you try as hard as possible to keep your child safe while they are playing sports, accidents still happen. At these moments, it’s important that you know whether these are injuries that can easily be treated from the comfort of your own home or whether you need to turn to a pediatrician for proper medical attention.
Pediatricians have seen a lot of sports-related injuries over the years and while we also focus as much of our attention on prevention, we know the importance of being able to get immediate and comprehensive care when your child does sustain an injury.
Common sports-related injuries include:
- Dislocations (particularly in the shoulder)
- Traumatic injuries (this includes cuts, sprains and strains, and broken bones)
- Stress fractures
- Tendinitis (often in the hand or wrist)
When a dislocation happens many times it is accompanied by an audible popping sound at the moment that the injury occurred. This unnerving sound is often followed by sudden and intense pain. It’s important that you turn to a pediatrician who can put the shoulder or any other area of the body back in place. The joints of a child’s body are looser than adults, so it makes shoulders and other areas more prone to dislocations.
Minor cuts, sprains, and strains can often be handled with at-home care. In most cases, the RICE method is a great way to ensure that your child gets the rest they need to heal properly and to stay off of the injury until it fully heals. Icing and elevating the injured area can also reduce pain and swelling. Of course, if you suspect that your child has a broken bone, this will need to be evaluated by a medical professional right away.
Children who are serious or long-term athletes are more likely to experience overuse injuries. These injuries occur over time rather than suddenly and they are often the result of performing repetitive movements. Overuse injuries include stress fractures and tendinitis. If your child feels pain whenever they move a certain area of the body or if they notice pain or swelling in a certain area it’s important that they get checked out.
Wearing a helmet is crucial for protecting your child’s head while playing sports. Of course, if your child has received a blow to the head and is experiencing dizziness, fatigue, frequent or severe headaches or just seems out of sorts it’s crucial that you bring them in right away to see if they’ve incurred a concussion.
When in doubt, pick up the phone and talk to a pediatrician about your child’s injuries and symptoms. They will be able to determine whether or not they should come in for proper care.
Whether it’s at the park, school or in your own backyard, kids of all ages enjoy climbing on the monkey bars, going down the slide and swinging. Playgrounds are a great place for kids to exercise, take in fresh air and socialize with friends. Unfortunately, it’s also a place many kids get injured every year as a result of faulty equipment and improper use. In fact, each year more than 200,000 kids under the age of 15 are treated in hospital emergency rooms for playground-related injuries.
While there are some inevitable dangers, the good news is that many of these injuries can easily be prevented with proper supervision. Do you know what to look for to make sure your playground is safe?
Play it Safe: What to Look for at Your Playground
Risks linked with playground safety may not be as apparent as those associated with swimming or biking; you just have to know what to look for. You can make the playground safe and fun for your kids by checking equipment and surfacing for potential hazards and following some simple safety guidelines. These include:
- Always supervise your child to ensure playground equipment is used properly.
- Regularly check playground equipment for loose, sharp or broken parts.
- Know which surfacing is most appropriate. Sand, wood chips and rubberized matting are the safest surfaces for playgrounds, while concrete or asphalt could lead to a serious injury if a child falls.
- Make sure playground equipment is age and size appropriate for your child.
- Minimize injuries by teaching your kids basic playground rules.
- Play areas for younger children should be separated from those for older kids.
- Don’t let children wear drawstrings, purses, necklaces or other items that could get caught on equipment.
- Report dangerous playgrounds to responsible parties.
- Ask your pediatrician about other tips for playground safety.
Don’t let careless behavior or a faulty apparatus ruin playground fun. To minimize injuries, always be on the lookout for faulty equipment, improper surfaces, and careless behavior. Play is an essential part of a child’s physical, social, intellectual, and emotional development. Following these playground safety tips will help your kids play as safely as possible.