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Tips of the Week for June, 2016

Lightning & Sports Safety: When Thunder Roars Go Indoors
06-20-2016

​​​By: Alex B. Diamond, DO, MPH, FAAP

Chances are wherever you live the weather is probably subject to change at a moment's notice—especially during the spring and summer months. Thunderstorms and lightning can occur with little warning. If your child is playing or practicing in less than ideal weather conditions, you need to be aware of the possible hazards and have a plan worked out ahead of time.

Basic Lightning Facts & Stats

  • It does not have to be raining for lightning to strike.
  • All thunderstorms produce lightning. If you can hear thunder, the storm is close enough for lightning to strike.
  • Lightning strikes can cause death or permanent disability. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), more than 400 people in the United States are struck by lightning each year, resulting in an average of 49 deaths.
  • The NWS reported that 17% of lightning deaths between 2006 and 2013 occurred during outdoor sports or recreational activities. These sports include soccer, golf, running, baseball, and football, in rank order. The greatest number of fatalities occurred in the 10 to 19-year-old and 20 to 29-year-old age groups. Many victims were either headed to safety or just steps away from safety at the time of a fatal lightning strike. Therefore, taking action before the threat is upon you is key!  

Lighting & Sports Safety Tips from the AAP

While our message of getting outside, enjoying nature and promoting physical activity remains unwavering, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy statement, Baseball and Softball, advises all coaches and officials to be aware of extreme weather conditions—including lightning—and to postpone or cancel games if conditions worsen and players are at risk.  This same message applies to all organized sports, as well as to all recreational outdoor activities.

Use and follow these recommendations to help prevent lightning injuries during sporting events and outdoor activities:

  • Prior to any practice or activity, the person in charge should check the local weather forecasts. Be aware of whether or not the NWS has issued a thunderstorm "watch" or "warning." A "watch" means conditions are favorable for severe weather to develop in an area; a "warning" means severe weather has been reported in the area and for everyone to take proper precautions. Activities should be delayed if a thunderstorm is approaching before or during a practice or a game.
  • Recognize the signs of a coming storm. Although lightning can strike without warning, when a thunderstorm is on the way, clouds may darken, winds may pick up, and there may be thunder activity. Pay close attention to these signs and any issued warnings.
  • Be sure your child understands the dangers of lightning and the policy that his or her coach needs to follow. If the coach doesn't follow the policy, as a parent, it's time to step in and remove your child from the field. Safety is the most important thing!
  • Be prepared and have established protocols for lightning incorporated into your school or league's Emergency Action Plans (EAPs). Develop and practice lightning strike prevention and treatment protocols as part of your EAP.
    • Designate a "weather watcher" and a clear chain of command to monitor and respond to severe weather.
    • In the event of impending thunderstorms, those in control of the event/venue should cancel the event, warn participants and spectators of the lightning danger, and specifically instruct on the proper procedure for evacuation.
    • The timeframe for evacuation depends on how fast the storm is approaching and the layout of the venue (the timeframe needed for everyone to seek safe shelter).  Generally, a lightning strike within 6 to 8 miles of the venue calls for evacuation.
  • Follow the 30/30 rule. Familiarize yourself with the flash-to-bang count to determine when to seek shelter. Begin counting when you see a flash of lightning. Stop counting when you hear thunder. Your child should be inside a safe shelter before you reach a count of 30. Dividing this number by five will determine the distance (in miles) to the lightning flash. If the activity has been delayed, wait at least 30 minutes following the last sound of thunder or lightning flash before your child resumes activity.
  • Make sure a safe shelter has been designated. Trees, flagpoles/light poles, tents, bleachers, dugouts, storage sheds, and open garages are not safe shelters! In fact, there are very few safe places outdoors when thunderstorms are in the area. The safest shelters are structures with four solid walls, and electrical and telephone wiring. If no safe shelter is available, your child should take shelter in a hardtop vehicle; don't touch the radio dial or the door handles—especially if they are metal.
  • Specifically avoid standing water and open fields. If you are in an open field, avoid being the highest point, in contact with, or near the highest point in the field.
  • If you feel your skin tingling, you are in more immediate danger. Assume the lightning safe position. This means crouching on the ground with your weight on the balls of your feet, your feet together, your head lowered, and your ears covered.
  • Even if you are indoors, stay away from open windows, sinks, toilets, tubs, showers, and electrical outlets. During a lightning storm, electric currents can run through these objects and "jump" onto a person—even inside a safe shelter. In addition, your child should never be permitted to swim during a lightning storm.
  • Invest in a NOAA Weather Radio and download the CoachSmart App. CoachSmart, a collaboration between Vanderbilt Sports Medicine and the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, offers real-time information based on a user's GPS location on heat index and lightning strikes. The app also includes sports medicine and safety FAQs and a group contact feature. Coaches, trainers, and field managers who are responsible for several locations will find this CoachSmart incredibly useful! Find CoachSmart on iTunes.
  • Check out other weather apps and resources. There are several free weather apps that may downloaded and used for live-time, verified information. Some examples include the WeatherBug® app,  Storm by Weather Underground, and or the NOAA Weather Radar app. Parents, coaches, and spectators, as well as the designated "weather watcher," can utilize these apps to make objective recommendations whether there is need to cancel the activity and seek shelter.
  • If someone is struck by lightning, get the victim emergency help immediately and move him or her to a safe place. Contrary to what you may have heard, lightning can strike the same place twice. If you are qualified to do so, initiate the chain of survival (call 911, begin CPR, apply AED). People who have been struck by lightning do not carry an electrical charge and are safe to handle.
  • Remember that thunderstorms and lightning aren't the only weather hazards. Extreme heat can be almost as dangerous by posing an unnecessarily high risk of heat illness, such as heat stroke, so your child's team needs to establish a policy on cancelling or modifying practices or games if the heat index is too high.

Important note: Cell phones and/or email can transmit notifications to parents and families, but they should only supplement the other safety procedures listed above.  

Additional Information & Resources:

 

About Dr. Diamond:

Alex Diamond, DO, MPH, FAAP is a member of the executive committee for the AAP Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness. He is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Orthopaedics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt where he specializes in pediatric sports medicine. Dr. Diamond is also a team physician for Vanderbilt University, the Nashville Predators, the Nashville Sounds, and several local middle and high schools. In addition, he is the co-founder and director of the Program for Injury Prevention in Youth Sports (PIPYS) and a blessed husband and father of two. Follow Dr. Diamond on Twitter @VandyPedsSports

​ 

Author

Alex B. Diamond, DO, MPH, FAAP

Last Updated

6/16/2016

Source

American Academy of Pediatrics (Copyright © 2016)

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

 

All information provided by HealthyChildren.org.  For additional information including links and audio, please go to the following web address:  https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Lightning-Sports-Safety-When-Thunder-Roars-Go-Indoors.aspx

 

Water Safety: Tips for Parents of Young Children
06-13-2016

Water is one of the most ominous hazards your child will encounter. Young children can drown in only a few inches of water, even if they've had swimming instruction.

Swimming Lessons Are Not a Way to Prevent Drowning in Young Children

In the past, the AAP advised against swimming lessons for children ages 1 to 3 because there was little evidence that lessons prevented drowning or resulted in better swim skills, and there was concern parents would become less vigilant about supervising a child who had learned some swimming skills.

But new evidence shows that children ages 1 to 4 may be less likely to drown if they have had formal swimming instruction. The studies are small, and they don't define what type of lessons work best, so the AAP is not recommending mandatory swim lessons for all children ages 1 to 4 at this time. Instead, the new guidance recommends that parents should decide whether to enroll an individual child in swim lessons based on the child's frequency of exposure to water, emotional development, physical abilities, and certain health conditions related to pool water infections and pool chemicals.

The AAP does not recommend formal water safety programs for children younger than 1 year of age.

Safety training does not result in a significant increase in poolside safety skills of young children. If you do enroll a child under four years old in a swimming program, be sure the class you choose adheres to guidelines established by the national YMCA. Among other things, these guidelines forbid submersion of young children and encourage parents to participate in all activities. But remember that even a child who knows how to swim needs to be watched constantly.

Whenever Your Child is Near Water, Follow These Safety Rules:

  • Be aware of small bodies of water your child might encounter, such as bathtubs, fishponds, ditches, fountains, rain barrels, watering cans—​even the bucket you use when you wash the car. Empty containers of water when you're done using them. Children are drawn to places and things like these and need constant supervision to be sure they don't fall in.
  • Children who are swimming—even in a shallow toddler's pool—always should be watched by an adult, preferably one who knows CPR. The adult should be within arm's length, providing "touch supervision" whenever infants, toddlers, or young children are in or around water. Empty and put away inflatable pools after each play session.
  • Enforce safety rules: No running near the pool and no pushing others underwater.
  • Don't allow your child to use inflatable toys or mattresses in place of a life jacket. These toys may deflate suddenly, or your child may slip off them into water that is too deep for him.
  • Be sure the deep and shallow ends of any pool your child swims in are clearly marked. Never allow your child to dive into the shallow end.
  • Backyard swimming pools, (including large, inflatable above-ground pools), should be completely surrounded with at least a 4-foot (1.2 meters) high fence that completely separates the pool from the house. The fence should have a self-closing and self-latching gate that opens away from the pool, with the latch at least 54 inches high. Check the gate frequently to be sure it is in good working order. Keep the gate closed and locked at all times. Be sure your child cannot manipulate the lock or climb the fence. No opening under the fence or between uprights should be more than 4 inches (10 cm) wide. Keep toys out of the pool area when not in use so that children are not tempted to try to get through the fence.
  • If your pool has a cover, remove it completely before swimming. Also, never allow your child to walk on the pool cover; water may have accumulated on it, making it as dangerous as the pool itself. Your child also could fall through and become trapped underneath. Do not use a pool cover in place of a four-sided fence, because it is not likely to be used appropriately and consistently.
  • Keep a safety ring with a rope beside the pool at all times. If possible, have a phone in the pool area with emergency numbers clearly marked.
  • Spas and hot tubs are dangerous for young children, who can easily drown or become overheated in them. Don't allow young children to use these facilities.
  • Your child should always wear a life jacket when he swims or rides in a boat. A life jacket fits properly if you can't lift it off over your child's head after he's been fastened into it. For the child under age five, particularly the non-swimmer, it also should have a flotation collar to keep the head upright and the face out of the water.
  • Adults should not drink alcohol when they are swimming. It presents a danger for them as well as for any children they might be supervising.
  • Be sure to eliminate distractions while children are in the water. Talking on the phone, working on the computer, and other tasks need to wait until children are out of the water. 

Additional Information:

​ Last Updated

11/21/2015

Source

Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5, 6th Edition (Copyright © 2015 American Academy of Pediatrics)

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

 

All information provided by HealthyChildren.org.  For additional information including links and audio, please go to the following link:  https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Water-Safety-And-Young-Children.aspx

 

Bounce Houses: Safety Information for Parents
06-06-2016

By: Kathleen Berchelmann M.D., FAAP

Inflatable bounce houses are definitely a lot of fun for the kids and they are a sure hit for outdoor parties. But are they safe?

Inflatable Bouncer-Related Injuries on the Rise

The study, "Pediatric Inflatable Bouncer-Related Injuries in the United States, 1990-2010" (published in the December 2012 issue of Pediatrics), found that from 1990 to 2010 more than 64,000 children were treated in U.S. emergency departments for inflatable bouncer-related injuries. Also, the rate of those injuries has been significantly on the rise:

From 2008 to 2010, the number of inflatable bouncer-related injuries more than doubled to an average of 31 children injuries per day.

Just like the trampolines, bounce houses are NOT safe. In recent years, there have been a series of reported accidents involving bounce houses. Although the actual rides seem pretty harmless, the accidents usually involve falls and faulty installation. Strong winds and poor anchoring can result in either the sets collapsing or becoming air-borne, which can cause series – sometimes fatal – accidents. Although these bounce houses are manufactured with safety in mind, the installations are not always inspected and well-regulated.

There are standard installation guidelines, proper anchoring methods, weight limits, and safe operating protocols – including instructions on the weather conditions to avoid. Not all states need a certificate of inspection before operating these bounce houses. This allows less than adequate measures during installation, which is a set-up for accidents. Also, as with trampolines, these bounce houses are a perfect setup for injuries from fall such as sprains, fractures, abrasions, and head injuries.

Bounce House Suppliers

Before buying from or hiring a bounce house supplier, there are some obvious precautions to take:

  • Check the advice given by the supplier on how to operate the equipment. It should contain detailed instructions, weight and operating guidelines. If such advice is not provided, be wary.
  • Ask the supplier if they have records of accidents/incidents in the past and what measures were taken to prevent them. If you hire a bounce house supplier, you should be asked to report any accidents, even 'silly' ones to them, so that they can improve their advice to others. If they say that they never have accidents, be suspicious. Accidents like bumps, bruises, sprains and even broken bones can be expected in any boisterous activities involving children.
  • Check if the supplier has their inflatable sets checked annually by a competent person. They should be able to show evidence of any reports.

 Bounce House Safety Guide for Parents

  • Follow all the recommended guidelines for safe installation including anchoring. The bounce house should be situated away from any fences, greenhouses, branches, etc., which would be dangerous should a child fall onto them.
  • Consider limiting use to children 6 years of age and older.
  • Kids should take off footwear, eyeglasses, and jewelry before getting on the set.
  • Take any sharp objects (pens, keys) out of their pockets/hands before playing (they could easily cause puncture injuries).
  • Do not let children of significantly different sizes onto the bounce house at the same time. Smaller kids are at risk of injury from colliding with or falling under an older child.
  • Do not allow adults and/or children who are larger than the height/weight that the bounce house is designed for.
  • Food, drink, bottles, glasses etc. should not be taken onto the bounce house.
  • Supervision should be maintained all the time. If supervision cannot be maintained, the bounce house should be deflated and moved away. Supervision means watching constantly and not just being in the area!
  • Children should be informed that they must not push other children off the inflatable. If it is a flatbed, this is especially important so as to avoid broken arms and legs. If the bounce house is of the walled type, then children should not be allowed to bounce against the walls and crash into one another –this can result in collision injuries.
  • Follow the advice given on the maximum number of children permitted at any one time and let them on and off in a controlled manner.
  • Children should not be allowed to climb onto the outside walls. Flips and rough play should also not be allowed.

When the weather is nice outside, bounce houses and trampolines sound like a fun addition to many water parks, amusement parks, restaurants, outdoor parties, or even a permanent fixture in the backyard for kids. However, be aware of the risks these play sets can pose and make sure adequate measures are taken to minimize accidents because within seconds or minutes these inflatable sets can go from fun rides to terrifying nightmares.

Additional Information:

About Dr. Berchelmann:

Kathleen Berchelmann, MD, FAAP, is a pediatrician at St. Louis Children's Hospital, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine, and an official spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. Kathleen is the co-founder and director of ChildrensMD.org, a blog written by five dynamic mom-pediatricians who share their true confessions of trying to apply science and medicine to motherhood. Kathleen and her husband are raising five children.

Last Updated

1/19/2016

Source

Copyright © 2014 Kathleen Berchelmann M.D., FAAP

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

 

All information provided by HealthyChildren.org.  For additional links and information, please go to the following address:  https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Bounce-Houses-Safety-Information-for-Parents.aspx

 

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