Spring is here. Trees are budding, flowers are blooming and kids and parents alike are anticipating a hiatus from the daily grind during Spring Break. While Spring Break is a popular time for family fun, it’s also the season for injuries, blistering sunburns and complications from chronic illnesses that can land you in the ER.
Trauma or serious injury to a person’s body is the primary cause of ER visits during Spring Break according to Jacquee Bogard, RN, director of emergency services at the Memorial Hermann Convenient Care Center in Cypress. This time of year, ER physicians typically see injuries from activities such as boating, biking, ATVs and hoverboards, to name a few.
While you can’t prevent all accidents, you can take steps to minimize the risk. Before you head off on your annual road trip, or start your staycation, heed these important safety reminders.
Spring Break Safety Tip No. 1: Wear protective gear such as helmets and life jackets.
Sometimes, preventing injuries is as simple as following the recommended activity guidelines and using common sense.
Spring Break Safety Tip No. 2: Supervise children in your care.
Whether in the bathtub, swimming pool, lake or the ocean, children should always be supervised around water. According to the Centers for Disease Control, two children 14 years and under die every day from drowning and it is the third-leading cause of all deaths for children ages 1 to 4. (www.cdc.gov/safechild) Swim where there are lifeguards on duty and avoid distracting activities like card playing, reading or talking on the phone. You should be close enough to reach out and touch young children at all times.
Spring Break Safety Tip No. 3: Use sunscreen to protect against sunburn.
One of the most preventable visits to the emergency room is sunburns. For many families, Spring Break will be the first sun exposure since those Labor Day barbeques, so it is very important to wear a high SPF sunscreen and reapply every 4 to 6 hours, or more often if sweating or swimming. In lieu of sunscreen, babies under six months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight and dressed in loose, cool, protective clothing.
Spring Break Safety Tip No. 4: Wear light-colored cotton clothing, wide-brim hats and sunglasses to further protect skin from damaging rays.
This is good advice for all ages. The full extent of sunburn may not be felt or seen for a few hours. If you notice blisters, go to the ER. Otherwise, use damp, cool cloths and aloe gel to soothe the burn, and give Advil® or Tylenol® for pain.
Spring Break Safety Tip No. 5: Keep foods at appropriate temperatures.
Take steps to prevent foodborne illness, another common complaint in the ER during Spring Break. While trekking across country or lounging beachside, ensure your food and beverages are stored at, and heated to, appropriate temperatures. Nothing can wreck a vacation like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Spring Break Safety Tip No. 6: Don’t forget to pack your medications.
This is especially important if you have chronic health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and asthma. You should keep a list of medications and dosages with you at all times. An easy rule of thumb is to keep the list where you keep your cash. Having this information will be helpful if you need to replace any medications while on your Spring Break getaway.
Spring Break Safety Tip No. 7: Consume alcohol responsibly.
This is good advice any time of the year.
Spring Break Safety Tip No. 8: Take along your insurance and prescription cards.
Keep your health insurance cards with you and make sure that you understand your coverage options in the event you need health care away from home.
Spring Break Safety Tip No. 9: Do your homework upfront to determine who the reputable healthcare providers are at your final destination.
Are there providers like Memorial Hermann, where you can access walk-in primary and/or emergency care in the same location? Knowing where to go when illness or injury strikes will give you peace of mind during your travels.
Spring Break Safety Tip No. 10: Buckle up.
It’s important to understand the proper seat belt fit and position for your kids and yourself, and to make sure everyone buckles up every time. Children under 13 should ride in the back seat for maximum safety. All children younger than 8 years old or under 4’9” in height are required to be in the appropriate child safety seat system whenever they ride in a passenger vehicle. http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/TN/htm/TN.545.htm#545.412
Wishing you and your family a safe and healthy Spring Break!
If you need medical care, visit http://www.memorialhermann.org/emergency/ to find a location near you. For life-threatening emergencies, call 9-1-1.
Julias Roy says
Fantastic top ten safety tips for families in spring break. I love you safety tips. Those tips are essential and affordable for spring break with families. Hope, could help us your tips when we go spring break outdoor. Would you let me know about your safety tips in summer break?