Kids love the summer, in this warm weather there’s more time to spend outside doing fun activities with the family. However, every summer holiday a frightening number of children succumb to accidents, so please talk to them about possible risks, take sensible safety measures to reduce hazards and ensure you have a good knowledge of first aid, to be able to help if you need to.
Always make sure that your child is safe around water. Children should always be supervised as they can drown in just a couple of centimetres. Make sure you keep an eye on your child this summer at the pool, ponds and the sea, as drowning can happen quickly and quietly (unlike it is portrayed in films) and causes a shocking number of accidents every year.
If the child is unconscious: swiftly remove them from the water and if not breathing start CPR immediately – with 5 rescue breaths and 30 compressions, pushing at a rate of 2 per second and to a depth of about a 3rd of their chest. Get medical attention fast.
Heat exhaustion is common in the hot summer weather. To try to avoid heat exhaustion make sure that children drink lots of water, especially if running around, as dehydration can quickly lead to heat exhaustion.
It can come on suddenly, the child may have a raised temperature, feel sick, dizzy, have stomach ache or headache and feel sick. This can cause the child to collapse. They need to re-hydrate fast, ideally with proper rehydration such as Dioralyte, an isotonic sports drink or water.
In this sunny weather, it’s easy for children to get burnt without you realising. This can damage children’s sensitive skin and it is key to be aware how to prevent this:
The sun’s UV rays can damage children’s skin, even when the sun’s not out. Children with fair or red hair and a light skin tone are more likely to get sunburnt than those with darker hair and skin because they have less protective melanin to reflect and absorb the sun’s rays. But, Children with darker skin still burn and need sun protection. Babies are particularly vulnerable.
To avoid sunburn:
1. Always wear appropriate sunscreen. Apply sunscreen all over the face and body and re-apply it every 2-3 hours, especially if sweating or swimming, even if the sunscreen is waterproof.
2. Take a lot of care if swimming or boating as the reflection from the water makes the sun’s rays stronger.
3. Wear tightly woven clothes so that the light can’t penetrate them, or ones with sun factor.
4. Take frequent breaks from the sun by going indoors or moving into the shade.
5. Try not to be out in the sun between 11:00 am and 3:00pm, when the sun's rays are strongest.
6. Wear a hat, ideally with an SPF factor. Make sure it has a wide brim and covers the ears.
7. Wear sunglasses
If sunburnt: Cool the area under a tepid shower for at least 10 minutes, or repeatedly apply cool wet towels for 15 minutes. When the burn is completely cooled, Aloe Vera gel can be applied as it is very soothing, reduces swelling and promotes healing. Give the child plenty to drink and Calpol for the pain. Always seek medical advice.
It is strongly advised that you complete an online or attend a practical first aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency. Visit http://www.FirstAidforLife.org.uk
or call 0208 675 4036 for more information about our courses. We run bespoke group courses for families and groups of friends, courses for teenagers and scheduled courses for everyone to attend. We also have a full range of award-winning online learning.
First Aid for Life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.