The warm days of summer lie ahead. Fond memories of childhood days are filled with active games, playgrounds and other summer activities. While we often remember playing outdoors with friends until waning daylight signals that it’s time to go home, summer can also be a time of childhood injury.
Children keep us busy in the orthopaedic office. Various activities that they enjoy can put them at risk for different orthopaedic injuries. I work as an orthopaedic trauma surgeon and care for Chicagoland area children routinely. Broken bones and other orthopaedic injuries can result from falls off playground equipment, bikes, scooters, skateboards, trampolines, and even play with friends.
Most of the injuries are bruises, but fractured arms and wrists are also common. While the broken bone temporarily compromises a child’s lifestyle, they usually heal uneventfully with the proper treatment and care.
Playground injuries often include a fall off equipment onto an outstretched arm as they instinctively try to break the fall. The impact can result in a fractured elbow or wrist. Close supervision of young children is important as they may not have developed the physical skills required to safely navigate the equipment.
Children also sustain many injuries when jumping on backyard trampolines, despite the presence of safety nets, which can give a false sense of security. A good portion of trampoline-related fractures come from kids colliding into each other. Children should be supervised.
The importance of using a helmet cannot be overemphasized – broken bones pale in comparison to the irreversible impact of a head injury. Scooters, skates and skateboards can all have the potential to cause a sudden fall with a significant amount of impact.
Despite the risks, active, outdoor play and team sports have tremendous health benefits to a growing child. With a little prevention, parents can help make play and sports a fun, injury-free experience for their children.
For safety tips on various sports and other activities, visit StopSportsInjuries.org