Summer and kids mean fun, sun and LOTS of activities! It’s also prime time for injuries—just ask any of our pediatric orthopedic surgeons. But there’s good news, too: many of these injuries are preventable.
A hallmark of summer, lawnmowers and kids don’t go hand-in-hand. Besides the risk of damage from flying rocks at high speeds, lawnmowers can cause permanent orthopedic deformities in children who fall from, or are struck accidentally by, the blade.
Safety takeaway: Keep young children inside while mowing. Children should be at least 12 years old before operating any lawn mower and at least 16 before operating a riding mower.
Monkey Bars/Jungle Gyms/Playscapes
Approximately 200,000 children are treated annually for injuries sustained at a playground, and over half of those injuries are fractures or broken bones.
Safety takeaway: Set and talk about safety ‘ground rules’ with children before and during play, and remind children to use play equipment properly.
Trampolines are an especially common culprit of summertime injuries. Between 2000 and 2005, there were nearly 90,000 children injured while playing on home trampolines. In addition to broken bones, fractures and sprains, some kids sustained serious head and spinal trauma.
Safety takeaway: If trampoline use is unavoidable, install safety netting around the trampoline and cover its frame, springs and nearby landing surfaces with shock-absorbing pads. Trampolines should be assessed often for tears or equipment malfunctions. Don’t allow unsupervised jumping, and only allow one person on the trampoline at all times.
Skateboards and Ripsticks (modified skateboards)
Skateboards and ripsticks account for approximately 50,000 trips to Emergency Departments per year and 1,500 hospitalizations.
Safety takeaway: Children under 5 should not use a skateboard or ripstick, and children 6 to 10 should be closely supervised. All children should wear protective equipment (helmet and knee, elbow and shoulder padding) and avoid areas with heavy traffic.
Even when play is carefully supervised, accidents can still happen. Gillette’s Acute Orthopedic Clinic provides same-day appointments and 24-hour consultations with a pediatric orthopedist to give primary and urgent/emergency providers instant access to our specialists. If your child sustains an injury, encourage your doctor to call 651-325-2200 for an immediate referral to Gillette.