Summer is in full swing, which means your children are likely spending their days playing outside, going to summer camp, and generally enjoying their time away from school. Summer activities like these can be a great way to make fond memories, keep active, and make friends, but as a parent, it is always important to be wary of the dangers present.
More kids than ever are experiencing concussions on playgrounds, as a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed in their recent study on the growing number of childhood concussions. In particular, monkey bars, playground gyms, and swings are the most likely places for a young child to experience a brain injury on a playground.
Of course, keeping your child from joining in on typical playground fun and games with their friends can be just as bad of a response to this news. The truth is, you have to let your kids take chances and potentially get hurt on playgrounds so they can grow up to be well-adjusted socially and physically. But, you can at least take a few steps to help protect your child’s growing brain.
Supervision is essential – Adult supervision is important for any kid activities, whether they are at summer camp or just playing outside on the lawn. Make sure there is someone educated about brain injuries present at all times in case your child experiences a serious injury.
Check the playground – Before you let your kids run wild on a playground or jungle gym, take a look at the surfaces surrounding the equipment and their condition. Soft surfaces made of shredded rubber, mulch, or sand can help prevent head injuries. On the other hand, old or rusting playground equipment could potentially break under the weight of a child and cause serious injury.
Talk to your child after a fall – You might be afraid of being overbearing, but it is always wise to take a moment to talk to your child after a fall or scrape and make sure they are okay, especially if they hit their head. Ask your child how they feel and be sure to be watchful for signs of concussions like headaches or nausea.
Know when to call it a day – If you think your child may have experienced a concussion, it is important that you remove them from whatever activity they are participating in, even if it means ending the game of red rover prematurely. Any potential concussion should be checked by a medical professional prepared to properly diagnose such an injury, such as a primary care pediatrician or emergency department.
While the majority of concussions heal relatively quickly and are not life-threatening, they can always have more serious side effects. Likewise, repeated concussions are much more likely to lead to severe issues such as disability or death. Take any potential brain injury seriously to make sure your child’s brain is safe this summer.