Summertime First Aid with Dawn Olson, FNP

For the most part, we see an increase of activities and injuries in the summertime as kids are more active and playing sports and being outdoors. Most of the injuries that we see kids coming into the clinic for are scrapes, bruises and cuts. We also get some injuries, such as sprains and fractures and head injuries. If you think your child has a broken bone or a sprain, the most important thing is to get them in a comfortable spot. It’s best to check them out and make sure that there's nothing sticking out of the skin that needs anything emergent. From there, we recommend just making sure they're comfortable. We recommend the R.I.C.E. treatment which is rest, ice, compression and elevation. If the pain is persistent or if it seems to be more than what would be expected, we would want you to come into the clinic and have it evaluated by a medical professional.

Safety precautions that we want to make sure we're taking for kids when they're out playing in the summertime include making sure they are wearing a helmet if they are riding their bike, scooter or rollerblades. Things like elbow pads and knee pads can be really helpful as well. For playground equipment and trampolines, make sure to check them in the beginning of the summer because over the winter months, they can start to deteriorate. It’s important to make sure everything is safe and working properly.

If your child gets hit in the head, first and foremost, if they have any loss of consciousness, they need to be seen right away in the emergency room. If they haven’t had any loss of consciousness, you want to just make sure you are watching them closely. Look for changes in behavior, nausea or vomiting, confusion or any changes in their coordination. If you're noticing any of those symptoms, you want to keep them awake and then get them to a medical professional right away.

Cuts, scrapes and abrasions are all really common in the summer months as kids are outside playing in the dirt and riding their bikes. If your kid has a mild scrape or an abrasion, you should make sure to wash it really good with some soap and water and make sure you get any debris out of there. Put antibiotic ointment and a bandage or gauze over it to keep it clean and protected, and then change it every day. The best way for those wounds to heal is to keep them covered and warm, but it’s important to change the bandage every. If the cut or scrape seems to be deep or you are having trouble controlling the bleeding, you want to put some pressure on it and then get medical attention. They need something like staples or sutures.