12-05-2011 (Dayton, OH) -
As the snow begins to fall, the number of childhood injuries begins to rise. The increased dangers from snow and ice leave children more vulnerable to injury. Last year between December and February, more than 130 children came into The Soin Pediatric Trauma and Emergency Center at Dayton Children’s because of seasonal injury including falling on ice, sledding and snowboarding accidents.
In the winter months, most people focus on outdoor safety. However, there were also almost 200 children seen last winter for indoor sports injuries including basketball, wrestling, and cheerleading or gymnastics injuries.
When these winter injuries do occur, parents and families in the Dayton region are fortunate to have a verified pediatric trauma center close to home. Dayton Children’s houses the only level II pediatric trauma center in the region and is certified by the American College of Surgeons. The trauma and emergency center is fully equipped to handle major child health emergencies across 35 specialty areas.
“Children are not little adults and cannot be treated as though they are,” says David Meagher, MD, medical director of trauma and a pediatric surgeon at Dayton Children’s. He explains that children respond differently to injury, illness and treatment than adults. Being verified as a designated pediatric trauma ensures that infants, children and teens in our 20-county region have quick access to a team of experts trained to recognize and treat children’s unique differences.
“Here at Dayton Children’s we want to keep kids safe and avoid trips to the emergency room for preventable injuries. Whatever the sport or activity, there are safety precautions that everyone can take,” said Lisa Schwing, Trauma Nurse Coordinator. Schwing and the experts at Dayton Children’s have compiled a list of safety tips to avoid injury during the cold, wintry months.
Sledding is one of the most popular winter activities for children, but Dayton Children’s sees many children who have been injured in sledding accidents each year. Many times when that first snow hits the ground, kids run outside to go sledding and don’t take the proper precautions to avoid a trip to the emergency room. There are some easy and effective ways to prevent injury while sledding:
· A helmet is a great idea any time a child participates in an activity that involves going fast like sledding, snowboarding, snowmobiling and skiing.
· Always sled feet first with your bottom on the sled.
· Make sure you have a clear path in front of you, avoiding hills that end in sharp drop offs, ponds, streets or trees.
· Sled with a group of friends. Not only is it more fun, but in case of injury, someone can get help.
· Always stretch, warm up, warm down and hydrate during winter sports, both indoors and outdoors.
Winter Weather Safety
The winter months bring cold temperatures and even colder winds. Dressing warmly and avoiding frostbite and hypothermia are extremely important. “Children should be reminded if they get wet or have numbness in any part of their body, to go home and get a change of clothes and warm up,” says Schwing. Other ways to protect children in cold weather include:
·Avoiding activities in extremely low temperatures.
·Checking on children every 20 minutes or so to ensure they’re properly dressed.
·Offering warm fluids like hot chocolate and soup help to warm children after they’ve been out in the cold.
·Dressing them in multiple layers for added protection against the elements
There are other dangers that come with the decreased temperatures of winter. Accidents around the house are often the reason that children are taken to Dayton Children’s.
· Make sure icy driveways and walkways are cleared of snow and ice.
· Keep children away from space heaters and candles.
· Gas heaters can malfunction leaving children and parents exposed to dangerous gases.
“Watch for multiple people at home with flu-like symptoms who improve when leaving the house,” says Schwing. “This may be a sign of carbon monoxide poisoning which needs to be treated immediately.”
Winter is a time away from school for most children. Having fun in the snow is a great way to stay active in the wintry months, but safety is a top priority. When seconds counts, parents throughout the region trust Dayton Children’s to provide the care their child’s needs. No other hospital in the region is more qualified to treat serious childhood injuries.
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