Emergency room physician offers tips for a safe summer
HOUSTON (June 6, 2018) – For many families, the summer is a time to have fun and make memories, but increased exposure to water and heat can lead to serious consequences, especially for children.
As families head to the pool or the beach, it’s important to practice water safety to reduce the risk of drownings or injuries. More than 85 percent of drownings can be prevented by supervision, swimming instruction, technology, regulation and public education, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Sandeep Duggal, M.D., Medical Director of the Emergency Center at Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital and Medical Director of the Memorial Hermann League City Convenient Care Center, encourages all family members to learn important basic swimming skills, CPR and first aid training.
“Knowledge is power and communication is key when spending time with your family near water,” he said. “Children should be under constant supervision and should never be left unattended. The concept of ‘touch supervision’, where a child is always within arm’s length, is a good rule of thumb to follow.”
Dr. Duggal also recommends home pools have safety mechanisms in place such as childproof fences, special locks, covers and alarms to provide greater protection.
Traditional drownings aren’t the only risks that recreational water activities can pose. Near drownings can also occur. It’s important to seek medical attention if you experience coughing, chest pain and trouble breathing after inhaling water.
“The water is a great place to enjoy, whether a pool, the beach, or a lake, but safety should be a top priority,” said Dr. Duggal.
Hot car deaths
Every year 30 to 50 children die from overheating in vehicles. There have been seven hot car child deaths in the U.S. so far this year, according to NoHeatStroke.org. A car’s temperature can quickly rise by 20 degrees in as fast as 10 minutes. Leaving young children in such conditions can be deadly, since a child’s body absorbs heat faster and has trouble cooling off.
Since hot car deaths often result from parents or caregivers forgetting their child in the car, Dr. Duggal recommends forming a habit of placing important items such as a cell phone, purse or workbag in the backseat of the car to remind you to check your back seat when you arrive at your location, and establishing a routine of checking in with the caregiver in charge of dropping the child off to ensure that he or she arrived safely.
Additionally, Dr. Duggal urges parents to lock the doors of their vehicles when they are parked at home since an estimated 30 percent of hot car deaths result in children climbing into an unlocked vehicle, according to statistics.
“The tragic stories can occur when parents are just overwhelmed with responsibilities. Busy hectic schedules can lead to an oversight with disastrous consequences,” said Duggal. “The summer months can create everlasting memories. However understanding the dangers and being aware of safety will allow you and your family to enjoy these times to the fullest,” Dr. Duggal said.
To learn more about pediatric CPR classes available at Memorial Hermann, visit https://www.memorialhermann.org/classes-events/ or call 713-222-CARE (2273).