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4 Spring and Summer Safety Reminders from Our Clinicians

May 02, 2024
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4 minutes
4 Spring and Summer Safety Reminders from Our Clinicians

The spring and summer seasons in Central Texas invite us to get outside for the warm days, lazy evenings, and endless adventures. But as the temperatures rise and students get out of school, we have a few reminders about warm weather fun to help keep you and your family safe.

1. Plan ahead for the playground

The playground should have safety-tested ground cover under all equipment. The equipment should be well-maintained and swing seats should be made of soft materials. Make sure children cannot reach any moving parts of the equipment that may pinch or trap them.

“I always tell my families to wear closed-toe shoes on playgrounds to help avoid falls,” explains Harbor Health pediatrician Dr. Edgar Navarro Garza. “Children should not swing near other people to avoid collisions or jump out of swings. Slides can be a big hazard. Make sure there is a platform at the top of the slide and rails for safety. I also remind parents to never slide with their child, since they can get tangled.”

2. Always wear a helmet

When your children are riding bicycles, scooters, skateboards, and any other things that move, remember they should wear a helmet that fits them well, no matter how far they are riding. Bicycle helmets should have a sticker or label indicating they meet Consumer Product Safety Commission standards. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends skateboard and in-line skating helmets be approved by the ASTM International (formerly the American Society for Texting and Materials).

The CPSC reports about 900 people, including more than 200 children, die every year due to bicycle-related incidents, and about 60 percent of those deaths involve a head injury. More than 500,000people are treated annually in U.S. hospital emergency rooms for bicycle-related injuries. The risk of head injury can be reduced by up to 85percent just by wearing an approved helmet.

“Parents should be a good role model for their children and always wear a helmet when riding a bike,” says Dr. Navarro Garza. “Remember to get a new helmet for your child as he or she grows. The helmet should fit properly and be replaced if it gets damaged.”

3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Our clinicians tell us heat exhaustion is a serious problem in the Central Texas summer months, and federal forecasters expect the 2024 summer to be warmer than usual. It is important to adequately hydrate, and acclimate yourself to the high temperatures. Gradually increase your activity over the first week of the warmer weather, and try to avoid exercising during the hottest time of the day.

“Hydrating before, during, and after exercise is paramount to preventing heat exhaustion,” explains Harbor Health family nurse practitioner Blake Liles. “It is recommended that people drink about 6mL of fluid per kilogram of body weight every 2-3 hours before exercise in order to stay properly hydrated. You should start this process about 6 hours prior to exercise.”

You and your children can get the hydration you need from simple water. Add electrolyte drinks only if participating in strenuous activity outside for more than one hour. If necessary, look for electrolyte drinks with the lowest amounts of added sugar.

4. Be smart with sunscreen

Our clinicians encourage you to always have sunscreen nearby during the hot spring and summer months in Central Texas. Wear it to protect your skin from sunburn and some skin cancers, and read the label carefully.

“Sunscreens should be “broad spectrum” so they protect from both UVB and UVA rays,” advises Dr. Navarro Garza. “The sun protection factor (SPF) should be at least 15, and try to avoid the ingredient oxybenzone because of concerns about mild hormonal effects. Apply the sunscreen a half hour before going outside and reapply it every 2 hours.”

Try to keep infants younger than 6 months out of the direct sunlight, and limit your family’s sun exposure during the time the UV rays are the strongest, between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm.

Harbor Health Express Care Clinics: We’re Here When You Need Us

Our Express Care Clinics offer extended hours on the weekdays and on the weekends so you have a place to see a primary care provider when you need the help. Sometimes you need those more flexible hours, especially when the need for care is unexpected. We welcome “walk-ins” and appointments for acute care visits. Our Express Care team is available for needs like those summertime sports injuries, seasonal allergy flare-ups, minor burns and bites, virus symptoms, and testing for strep throat and flu.

Make an appointment at one of our Express Care Clinics here. Our Westlake Express Care Clinic and Round Rock Express Care Clinic offer extended hours on weekdays and on weekends.

Holly Murphy

Holly Murphy

Director of Corporate Marketing

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