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2018 Spring/Summer Update

Sun Safety Tips

Now that the warm weather months are here, exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun poses year-round problems for both children and adults. UV exposure can damage the skin resulting in premature aging, wrinkles, and worst of all, skin cancer (melanoma). Here are some tips for taking common sense precautions on avoiding the dangers of sun exposure:

  • Minimize exposure to the sun when it is strongest, between 10AM and 3PM
  • Wear protective clothing, including shirts and hats (preferably with a brim). Baseball hats may not protect much of the face and neck
  • Keep babies out of direct sunlight whenever possible
  • Use sunscreen or sunblock with a minimum SPF of at least 15, including a lip balm. Babies under 6 months of age should be protected with sunblock, which should be applied to any sun-exposed area. Wash the sunscreen off your baby when you’re back inside the house. Use a PABA-free, hypoallergenic product and avoid contact with the eyes
  • Wear sunglasses capable of blocking UVA and UVB rays
  • Avoid tanning beds - there is no such thing as a “safe tan!”

Insect Repellents

Mosquito-borne illnesses, including West Nile virus, are seen during the summer months. The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics have published useful guidelines for the use of insect repellents during these warm weather months, including which can be safely used in children and infants. The guidelines can be found at the American Academy of Pediatrics website.

Lyme Disease

With the onset of warmer weather comes an increased risk of contracting Lyme Disease, a tick-borne illness prevalent in southeast Pennsylvania. Be sure to check your children for ticks at least every 48 hours. Lyme-carrying ticks are quite small, so check the skin carefully! A comprehensive review and discussion of the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of Lyme Disease can be found at the CDC’s website.

Seasonal Allergies

The trees are budding, flowers are beginning to bloom, and the grass is getting greener, all signs that if you have seasonal allergies or hay fever, you’re likely beginning to suffer from itchy, watery eyes and nose, sneezing, and nasal congestion. With all the rain and snow we’ve had over the past few months, this promises to be a severe allergy season! Here is a useful link on the management of seasonal allergies. If over the counter medications are not effective at relieving your child’s symptoms, or if you’re not certain whether allergy is the cause of those symptoms, please contact our office to make an appointment for your child.

Backyard Safety Tips

During the spring and summer months, our children will be spending much of their time outdoors. Backyard safety for children begins with age-appropriate supervision. Be aware of certain backyard hazards that can impact your child’s safety:

  • Pools: Each year approximately 1500 children under the age of 20 drown, with toddlers most likely to drown in swimming pool accidents. A child can drown in a matter of minutes, and in as little as 1 inch of water! Your infant or toddler should be close enough for “touch” supervision. Remember, as soon as children can walk, they can get into serious trouble by falling into pools, buckets, hot tubs and spas.
     
  • Playsets: Annually, approximately 50,000 serious injuries on home playgrounds to children under the age of 15. Many of these injuries can result in deaths, usually from hangings from ropes or cords. Never allow ropes, jump ropes, or clotheslines to be attached to playground equipment and remember to install protective surfacing under and around any home playground equipment. 

  • Trampolines: PMA strongly recommends against either the indoor or outdoor use of trampolines, which are a significant cause of trauma in children. Sprains, fractures, spinal cord injuries, and deaths have been reported, even in a supervised environment. In fact, trampolines are the leading cause of fractures in children. Here are some valuable tips for parents: 
     
    • Never place a trampoline on cement or other unforgiving surface;
    • Always use a spring guard to secure the net;
    • Never allow your child to do flips!
    • Assure your child is monitored by an adult while on the trampoline; and
    • Never allow more than one child to use the trampoline at one time!

    Trampolines should not be regarded as play equipment, and in no case should they be used by children under the age of 6.

Bicycle Safety Tips

Bicycle injuries are responsible for more childhood injuries than any other consumer product except motor vehicles. Riding without a helmet is mainly responsible for the severity of bike injuries, and consistently wearing an approved helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by up to 85%! The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests the following bicycle safety recommendations:

  • Wear a properly fitted, US Consumer Product Safety Commission approved bicycle helmet. Children riding as passengers in protective bike seats or trailers should also wear a helmet
  • Use of helmets should not be optional – enforce the rule as you would with wearing seatbelts in your car!
  • Have your child “fitted” for an appropriately-sized bike; avoid an oversize bike as they can be especially dangerous
  • Obey traffic lights and signs, and ride on the right hand side of the road in the same direction as traffic
  • Ride in single file when riding with others
  • Avoid riding at dusk or after dark – if you must wear reflective clothing!

For more information, please visit the bicycle safety page of the CDC.

Skateboarding and Scooter Safety

As skateboarders and scooter riders take to the streets and sidewalks this summer, the risk of serous injuries related to these activities increases, especially to children and adolescents. Here are some tips to help protect your children this summer from injury:

  • Make sure all skateboarders and scooter riders wear helmets, wrist guards and protective elbow and knee padding
  • Verify the helmet meets the US Consumer Product Safety Commission standards
  • Never ride skateboards or scooters in or near traffic and NEVER hold onto the rear of a moving car while skateboarding!

Lawn Mower Safety

Each year, many children are severely injured by lawn mowers, especially power mowers. Many injuries can be prevented by following these safety guidelines:

  • Make sure your child has the maturity, judgment and coordination to do the job safely; generally, 12 years of age to operate a walk-behind power mower or hand mower, and 16 years of age to operate a riding mower
  • Spend time with your child demonstrating proper and safe technique, then supervise your child’s work to ensure that he/she can manage the task alone
  • Make sure that protective guards, shields, and grass catcher are in place and that the mower is in good working order
  • While mowing, make sure your child wears closed-toe shoes, safety goggles or glasses with side shields and hearing protection
  • Remain aware of where children are and don’t allow them near the mowing area – children are curious about mowers in use!

First Aid

Spring and summer are the time of year when we see an increase in the number of traumatic injuries. Please check our website for the latest First Aid tips.

Cholesterol Screening

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) can affect very young children as well as adults. Genetic predisposition, obesity, diet, and exercise all play a role in cardiovascular risk. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association recommend screening for cardiovascular risk factors as young as 9 years of age. New guidelines from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) address the need to screen children and adolescents for CVD. Pediatric Medical Associates follows these guidelines and screens children using a simple blood test at 10 and/or 15 years of age, or younger if there are significant risk factors present. An excellent article from the American Academy of Pediatrics News (February, 2012) on CVD testing can be found here
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Updated July, 2018

Pediatric Medical Associates of Abington
1077 Rydal Road Suite 300
Rydal PA 19046
Phone 215-572-0425
Fax 215-572-5929
Pediatric Medical Associates of Norristown
160 West Germantown Pike Suite D2
East Norriton, PA 19401
Phone 610-277-6400
Fax 610-275-8861
For after hours help, call
610-992-4916