For children and young adults, summer signals an increase in recreational and social activities, including participation in team sports, physical activities in camps, bike riding, boating, waterskiing, and more. While summer is traditionally the time for fun in the sun, it is also a period of increased risk for potential injuries and accidents.
Since men and women don’t reach their peak bone mass until they are between 25 and 30, it is important to ensure that any bone breaks or injuries are treated properly, particularly for young adults and children. Consulting a board-certified and professionally trained orthopedic surgeon, who can inform you of your options for treatment, is the best decision – even if the pain from an injury is minimal.
“Summer is prime time for physical activity, and young adults and children are still growing and developing, which puts them at greater risk for injury,” said Kenneth Jeffers, M.D., a pediatric orthopedic surgeon with the Broward Health Physician Group. “If your child suffered an activity-related fall and is limping, unable to use full range of motion in an extremity, or is experiencing pain when pressure is applied, that could indicate a serious injury and one that needs immediate attention from an orthopedic physician.”
Dr. Jeffers encourages parents to be mindful of the most common injuries that occur during this time of year:
- Swimming pool injuries – The majority of summer days are spent in or around the pool, especially in South Florida, to escape the brutal heat of the season. Unfortunately, statistics show that children are more likely to drown in a swimming pool than a natural body of water. There are several precautions that should be taken to avoid pool time accidents and injuries. First, never allow any child to be in or around the water without supervision. A fence, netting, or pool cover should be used to prevent children from entering the area. To avoid the risk of a spinal cord injury, explain the danger of diving into the shallow end and ensure that there is proper signage to serve as a reminder. Also, make certain that the pool deck is clear of clutter to avert a slip and fall.
- Bicycle, skateboard and skating injuries – Young adults and children riding any type of bicycle, skateboard, or scooter are extremely prone to sustaining scrapes, broken bones or other injuries. Properly fitted helmets and other protective gear such as elbow and knee pads are a necessary precaution. According to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, a helmet can reduce the risk of a head injury by 88%. It is also recommended that parents enforce time and location restrictions to avoid rides at dusk or in the later evening and to avoid busy streets and intersections.
- Trampoline injuries – While it’s fun and a timeless pastime for summer days, trampolines pose a high risk of injuries, including arm and leg fractures and sprains or more serious head and neck injuries. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages the use of trampolines at home, particularly if they are unattended. If you have a trampoline at home, please follow safety guidelines, including safety net enclosures and special pads covering the frame and springs. In addition to ensuring the equipment is well-kept with no tears or deterioration, limiting the trampoline activity to one person at a time can reduce the risk of an accident since most trampoline-related accidents result from one body colliding with another.
- Playground injuries – Adult supervision while children are enjoying playground activities is highly recommended to help prevent any accidents such as falling off the monkey bars or coming down a slide incorrectly. Check that the playground is well maintained and the equipment is sturdy.
Broward Health knows that orthopedic injuries come in many forms. Broward Health orthopaedists help patients who suffer from musculoskeletal injuries that affect the bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues. To schedule a consultation or for more information, visit BrowardHealth.com/BHPGOrtho or call 954-302-4900.
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