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Safe Swimming, Camping and More: A Philly Doctor on Avoiding Common Summer Health Risks

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Summer is finally here, which means there’s more time to get outside, go to the pool, sit by the fire and soak up the sun.

As a parent, your child’s safety is always your number one priority regardless of the season. But if your child suffers a bump or bruise or break, you have healthcare options like Shriners Children’s Philadelphia — a pediatric orthopedic hospital with locations in the Greater Philadelphia area — to help them get back out with their friends in no time.

“The more common summertime injuries are going to be small burns, fractures and bug bites,” says Dr. Bethany Lipa, a physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor at Shriners, where top-notch orthopedic care is accessible regardless of a family’s ability to pay. “It’s best to talk to and educate your children about injury prevention.”

Having fun in the sun doesn’t have to be full of worry, however — as long as you’re careful and mindful of your surroundings, you can rest easy. Here are some tips to follow to keep you and your family healthy this summer season.

Stay Safe on the Playground

While going to the park or playing in your backyard are timeless summer activities, you should still follow the right safety measures. To help prevent a twisted leg or broken bone, avoid going down a slide with your child. Instead, have them go themselves and guide them down if needed.

If your child does suffer a fracture at the playground or at home, Shriners has a walk-in fracture clinic for kids at its locations in Philadelphia and Doylestown. Oftentimes, you’ll be referred by a pediatrician or after an emergency room visit to go to these clinics for further consultation.

“If your child needs help getting back to their usual activities after an injury, we have all of those pieces in place under one roof,” Dr. Lipa says.

Make a Sunscreen Routine

Sunscreen. We all use it, but sometimes we forget to apply it, and that can lead to unwanted sunburns. Whenever you’re out with your family, Dr. Lipa suggests applying a generous amount of sunscreen to avoid painful burns.

“Regular sunburn like a first-degree burn doesn’t blister, but a second-degree burn does, and if it covers a large surface area, a child is at risk for getting an infection,” Dr. Lipa says. “But that’s rare, and it can be prevented by reapplying sunscreen every few hours.”

Camp with Care

There are few better summer activities than sitting by the campfire under the stars. But any time fire is involved, there’s also the risk for burns or injury.

When you’re camping, Dr. Lipa advises that you should always monitor your children and encourage them to keep a safe distance from a campfire.

“You always want to have either a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher close by,” Dr. Lipa says. “It’s also important to put a campfire out at the end of the night — embers can be really hot and kids could fall into the campfire the next morning.”

And while Shriners Children’s isn’t a burn center, it can still treat kids with less severe burns and it’s equipped to provide appropriate treatment.

Be Smart When Swimming

Swimming is an ideal summer family pastime when the weather warms up. But Dr. Lipa stresses that “younger children should always be supervised.” She also says older kids should be educated about the dangers of diving.

“They should be advised against diving in shallow ends of a pool to avoid severe injury,” she says.

Dr. Lipa adds that talking with your children about swim safety is the best way to help them remember the dos and don’ts. And in the event that a diving injury does occur, she says it’s important to call 911 immediately.

“Overall, education is the best course of action,” Dr. Lipa says. “Whether you have a young child or a young adult, talk to them about injury prevention and safety to help them stay healthy.”

For more information on Shriners Children’s Philadelphia and scheduling a visit today, head here.