Head smart tips for summertime fun

It’s that time of year when we all spend lots of time outdoors, especially the kids. Hence, it’s time to be extra safety conscious and know where we’re all more vulnerable to concussion. 

As organized sports wind down and pick-up games gear up in the neighborhood, be mindful that you don’t have coaches and athletic trainers on the sidelines watching for hard impacts. Be sure there’s an adult nearby and use of safety equipment should still apply. 

Summertime pool injuries are all too common. The pool deck is slippery, making everyone more susceptible to trips and falls. Young divers are vulnerable to hard impacts to the water as they learn proper diving techniques. Collisions with diving boards account for nearly half of all injuries poolside. Odds of hitting a diving platform are dramatically increased if the diver is attempting a flip, handstand or backward dive. Teens are at greater risk of underwater injury from contact with the bottom of the pool, because often they don’t properly factor their rapidly changing height and weight to the depth below them. Diving from a height of just 3 feet or more dramatically increases the odds of injury solely as a result of the force of impact with the water.

While we are on the topic of water safety, water skiing and wakeboarding at the typical 15-25 mph can generate some hard tumbles. Hitting the water at full speed can be like hitting a solid object. Slower impacts with younger kids doing something as simple as tubing can also really take a toll, so check your water babies behind the boat often and insist everyone wear a life jacket!

Now let’s talk about heads on wheels. Whether they are riding bicycles, tricycles, scooters, skateboards, motorbikes, ATVs or anything else with wheels, they should always wear a properly fitted helmet. This should be a non-negotiable safety standard for everyone in your family. Pull out everyone’s helmets today and ensure they are in good condition and fit well.

Parents also need to be super diligent about playground supervision. Play-grounds are where children find opportunities to take risks, test their limits and learn new skills. A new study published recently by the CDC revealed that playground concussions are on the rise. Most of the injuries take place on monkey bars, climbing equipment and swings. Confirm your playgrounds have soft ground surfaces, such as wood chips, mulch or sand. Make sure your child plays on well maintained, age appropriate equipment. Check for ample guardrails and watch for things in the play area that can trip your child, like tree roots, stumps and rocks.

Adults need to be extra careful too as we tackle home improvement projects. Climbing ladders, cleaning gutters, trimming trees, changing lightbulbs, washing windows and more put you at greater risk for falls. When doing risky tasks, be mindful to take every safety precaution you can and always have a buddy that can help watch for dangers and steady you as needed.

Please know my goal is not to take the joy out of summer, but to remind us all that concussions can happen anytime, anywhere. The best way to prevent injuries is to be mindful of risks and work to minimize our exposure. Download the CDC’s FREE Heads Up Concussion App onto your smartphone today to ensure you are super head smart this summer. The app offers great helmet fitting tips and details signs and symptoms of concussion if you need it. Wishing you all a healthy, happy, concussion-free summer!

www.gaconcussioncoalition.org

You can contact Paige Havens by email: Havensp@bellsouth.net or call 678-938-4279

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