Baby your baby: Summer safety for kids
SUmmer is right around the corner, which means safety should be a top priority for everyone, especially parents with small children.
Miguel Serra, supervisory medic and operations manager at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, said emergency personnel often respond to events that are avoidable. For example, he said, paramedics and other first responders will respond to children who have overheated in unattended vehicles – a mistake that can cost a life.
"A car parked in direct sunlight can reach 131 to 171 degrees in 15 minutes,” he said. “On average, 37 children die in hot cars each year. Some parents think it’s okay to leave a child because the errand is only going to take a few minutes. But, even that amount of time is too long for a child or animal. This type of death is 100 percent preventable.”
Parents should also be mindful of the frequency of injuries that occur around the water, he added, and make sure to take the proper precautions. Children should wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket while on boats, around open bodies of water, or when participating in water sports, he said.
“Swimming aids such as water wings and noodles are fun toys for kids, but they should never be used in place of an approved life jacket,” Serra said. “Adults should always monitor any children in their care while they're in the pool or water. Accidents can happen in a second and, in water-related incidents, those seconds really matter.”
Lia Anderson, a clinical nurse specialist at Belvoir Hospital, said parents should know basic life-saving skills, should an accident occur.
“Parents have a million things to do, but learning CPR should be on the top of the list,” said Anderson, who noted that many military hospitals and fire stations offer CPR classes for free.
Additionally, healthcare providers should be aware those requiring renewal or retraining of American Heart Association (AHA) Basic Life Support are no longer able to challenge or “test out,” effective immediately, according to new guideline updates. The AHA states, “Students cannot challenge a course until two years after the Guidelines Update, or before November 2017.” Those requiring renewal during this mandated period will be required to attend classroom offerings.
“Staying up-to-date on Basic Life Support is so important,” Anderson said. “With time, requirements can change, skills can get dulled. But when you’re providing life support care, you’re working on someone’s loved one. It’s important to be competent and sure in that care setting every single time.”