June 3, 2019
KIMBERLY, Wis. – With summer months just around the corner, kids are getting excited to spend more time outside—and lots of parents are happy about that, too. Increased activity and freedom can bring along potential hazards for children, so keeping safety top of mind will help keep the summer fun and enjoyable for everyone.
“Parents should always be mindful around bodies of water, said Dr. Rebecca Doro, a family practice physician at ThedaCare Physicians-Kimberly and parent of young children. “That’s something I worry about all the time, because drownings can happen quickly, and there is no recovery from that. The best protection against drowning is supervision by an adult at all times.”
Parents should eliminate distractions and always watch their children around pools, lakes and ponds. Those who own pools should ensure proper barriers and enclosures are in place to prevent unsupervised swimming or falls in the water.
“Kids can drown when nobody’s outside or even thinking about swimming,” Doro said. New smart alarm systems can be a great tool to help parents detect when a small child has left the house or opened a gate to a pool area.
Swim lessons—which can begin very early—are an important way to provide children with the skills and confidence to navigate bodies of water. Even with lessons, parents should not rely on swimming ability alone to protect children.
“Parents may gain a false sense of security, believing their children can perform well in the pool,” Dr. Doro said. “They may have more difficulty swimming in a lake or other body of water.”
Young children who know how to swim can use water wings, floaties or floating toys with supervision. Parents should be aware that these toys are not a substitute for proper life jackets.
Additionally, parents who boat with their children should always ensure their kids are wearing life jackets—and adults should, too, especially if they want to set a good example. When choosing a life jacket for a child, parents should ensure it is designed to turn an unconscious child upright, which works for children who can’t swim as well.
The same goes for self-propelled water sports like canoeing and kayaking.
“Even if somebody’s a good swimmer, they can get fatigued out in the middle of the water,” she said. “And the water can be cold, creating the potential for hypothermia.”
For those who prefer playing on dry land, bike safety is important—ensuring kids know the rules of the road will help prevent serious injury. Parks and recreation programs, schools and public safety departments often offer children’s bike clinics to help teach those skills.
And of course, everyone should always wear bike helmets. Newer riders also can benefit from knee pads or elbow pads, Dr. Doro said.
Kids who play in the long grass or wooded areas also have the potential for suffering from poison ivy or deer tick bites, which can cause Lyme Disease and other serious health problems.
“Make sure to let your kids know what to watch for, and be sure to check over your children’s skin each night to catch ticks before they bite,” she said. “It is important to start those habits early so children learn how to prevent tick bites.”
While it’s important to remember all areas of safety, Dr. Doro also wants families to enjoy the summer months.
“Summer goes quickly in Wisconsin,” she said. “We want to encourage children and families to get outside and have fun, while remaining safe.”
For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast and Central Wisconsin. The organization serves a community of more than 600,000 residents and employs more than 6,700 healthcare professionals throughout the regions. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose as well as 31 clinics in nine counties. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.
Media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public Relations Specialist at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.