Archive for Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Parents, children should follow heat precautions

June 24, 2003


— To most children, summer is about fun and sun.

That's the way it should be, says Dr. Kate Perkins, medical director of the Children's Health Clinic at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, but precautions almost should be taken to make sure it's a safe season, too.

According to the National Safe Kids Campaign, unintended childhood injuries and death hit their peak between May and August, with the most happening during July.

Perkins reminds parents and caregivers that burns -- from fire, too-hot water and sun -- are a major cause of injury.

"Children's skin is thinner than that of adults so kids can be quickly and badly burned at lower temperatures," adds Dr. Lloyd Brown, associate director of the Pediatrics Training Program at Cedars-Sinai.

Perkins suggests parents lower the thermostat on their water heater to 120 degrees, and to practice the "stop-drop-and-roll" routine with their children in case of a fire, possibly from a backyard barbecue.

Another source of burns are home fireworks -- even the legal ones. Perkins says fireworks should be left to the pros.

Protective clothing, including a hat, long-sleeve shirt and pants, assist in the fight against sunburn, but it is possible to burn through clothing, so Perkins says it's a good idea to wear sunscreen anyway.

Heat exhaustion is a threat to everyone, but children sometimes are less aware of the symptoms.

Parents might consider keeping their kids indoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on the hottest days, Perkins says, and children should be kept hydrated with caffeine-free liquids. Water and low-sugar sports drinks and juices are the best options, she says.

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