Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Parents' Summer Safety Survival Kit

Loyola University Health System Pediatrician Details What Every Parent Needs to Survive the Summer

MAYWOOD, Ill. – Summer fun is in full swing, which coincides with an increase in bumps, bruises, scrapes and possibly worse. To keep kids safe, prevention and first-aid should be at the forefront of parents’ minds this summer according to Dr. Karen Judy, Loyola University Health System pediatric safety expert and professor of pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. “Supervision is the most important part of a parent’s summer safety kit. Accidents still happen, but if an adult is around, there will be someone who can respond to the situation,” Judy said. “Summer is a hectic time. With everyone going in a million different directions it’s a good idea to be prepared.” Heat: We all know the summer months are hot, so be sure your kids are well-hydrated to prevent heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses. Carry water with you at all times. Don’t rely on finding water at your destination. Dehydration can happen quickly in children, so make sure there is enough water for everyone. Don’t use plastic water bottles. The heat can melt the plastic, releasing a dangerous toxin called BPA into the water. Heed warnings. If there is a heat or ozone warning, take it seriously. Limit outside exposure and make sure your kids have access to a cool place. If you suspect your child has a heat-related illness, contact your pediatrician immediately. Sun: We all need some sun exposure, but too much sun can cause skin damage, eye damage and skin cancer. Keep kids safe from dangerous ultraviolet rays: Apply sunscreen generously about 15-30 minutes before going outside. Make sure you are using at least a 30 SPF sunscreen, preferably one that is water resistant if you plan on going into the water. Also, make sure often-overlooked areas such as the tops of the feet and tips of the ears are covered. Reapply sunscreen every few hours. It can wear off, leaving kids vulnerable to damaging rays. Be sure to reapply sunscreen if outside for extended periods of time. Wear sunglasses and a hat to protect your eyes. Don’t forget the lips. We slather sunscreen all over the body, but often forget that our lips are exposed as well. Use a lip balm with a high SPF. Stay indoors during the heat of the day when sun exposure is as its peak. Be sure to have aloe on hand in case of sunburn. Bugs: For the most part bug bites and stings are only a nuisance, but they can be dangerous. Avoid going outside at dusk and dawn when the bugs are most prevalent. Use a kid-friendly bug spray. Check children for ticks after playing in woods or tall grass. Seek medical attention immediately if your child: Is wheezing or having trouble breathing Feels tightness in throat or chest Has swelling of lips, tongue or face Feels dizzy or faint Is vomiting First-aid: Bumps, bruises and scrapes are just a part of summer. So here are a few items to help your kids feel better, with something other than a kiss: Adhesive bandages Antiseptic spray Topical antibiotics Anti-itch lotion Antihistamine pills and creams Acetaminophen Seek medical attention if: A cut is larger than a dime and/or continues to bleed. A child can’t bear weight on a leg or foot, is unable to use an arm, or a limb is extremely swollen and the child is in severe pain. A bone may be broken. Having a summer safety survival kit in place will help keep your children safe. It will also help you feel more prepared when stress is high. For media inquiries, please contact Evie Polsley at or call (708) 216-5313 or (708) 417-5100.

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is part of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is a national Catholic health system with an enduring legacy and a steadfast mission to be a transforming and healing presence within the communities we serve. Trinity is committed to being a people-centered health care system that enables better health, better care and lower costs. Trinity Health has 88 hospitals and hundreds of continuing care facilities, home care agencies and outpatient centers in 21 states and 119,000 employees.