Summer safety tips
This summer, injury prevention should be a key focus during fun activities with family and friends. UPMC Western Maryland is a State of Maryland designated Level III Adult Trauma Center serving Allegany and Garrett counties and surrounding areas. Last year, UPMC Western Maryland served the needs of 488 trauma patients (identified by the criteria set by the State of Maryland) from July 1, 2019 – May 31, 2020. UPMC Western Maryland’s multidisciplinary team approach is designed to serve the unique needs of each patient. In addition, staff work diligently to facilitate communication between hospital and prehospital personnel. UPMC Western Maryland serves as the regional hub for multidisciplinary trauma education and Trauma Nursing certification. Staff is ready 24/7 to serve the community needs with expert care and selfless dedication.
The following tips were compiled by Trauma Program Manager Elizabeth Wooster.
In the water
• Adult supervision is of paramount importance at all times. Any child can drown, regardless of swimming ability.
• Avoid distractions while watching children in the water.
• Don’t dive into shallow pools or in water with an unknown depth.
• All pool drains should have covers. Suction from pool and spa drains can trap an adult or child under the water.
Keep your head protected
• Helmets should be worn whenever a child is on wheels, including bicycles, scooters, skates, rollerblades and skateboards.
• The helmet must fit properly and be sport specific. Find out more about fitting bike helmets properly at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
• Set a good example: Adults need to wear helmets too.
Fun in the sun
• The best line of defense is covering up. Put on hats, sunglasses and SPF-rated clothing.
• Stay in the shade whenever possible and limit sun exposure during peak-intensity hours – between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
• Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater that protects against UVB and UVA rays, and apply it both on sunny and cloudy days.
• Reapply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
• Use extra caution near water and sand as they reflect UV rays and may result in a quicker sunburn.
Keep hydrated to beat the heat
• Keeping well hydrated is very important. Children should be reminded to drink.
• Adequate hydration should be enforced. A child weighing 90 pounds should drink 5 ounces of cold tap water every 20 minutes, and an adolescent weighing 130 pounds should drink 9 ounces every 20 minutes, even if the child does not feel thirsty.
• On hot days, sports practice and outdoor games should be shortened and more frequent water breaks should be instituted.
• Clothing should be light colored and lightweight and limited to one layer of absorbent material to facilitate evaporation of sweat.
• Seek medical attention immediately for any signs of heat-related illness.
- Though they may be popular with kids, sparklers are very dangerous—and are not toys! They may look harmless, but they reach temperatures as high as 2,000 degrees—the same as a blow torch! A temperature this high easily burns skin and can create permanent, devastating injuries.
- Teach your children that fireworks are explosive devices—DON’T TOUCH! Kids should get an adult if they find an unspent firework. The adult should then notify the local fire or police department. Fireworks injuries can result in blindness, scarring and amputations of fingers and hands.
- It’s just too dangerous to be around fireworks. If you are around someone who wants to use fireworks, leave the area.
What to do if you are injured:
- Immediately stop the burning process with clean, cool (not cold) water; remove any clothing, diapers or jewelry around the injured area; and wrap with a clean, dry towel. Do not use ice or apply any ointments.
- Seek medical attention immediately. UPMC’s Emergency Departments stand ready to care for anyone who needs attention. If you are having a medical emergency, come to the hospital. Our hospitals are safe, and we are ready to care for you.
The American Burn Association offers these additional DOs and DON’Ts for outdoor burn safety.
- Flammable liquid fires result in an estimated 454 civilian deaths, 3,910 injuries, and $1.5 billion in direct property damage per year (National Fire Protection Association, 2014).
- Gasoline is an extremely flammable liquid and vapor—the fumes are capable of ignition up to 12 feet from a pooled source.
- Use gasoline outdoors only, and store in cool, well-ventilated areas.
- Start charcoal grills only with fluid labeled as “charcoal starter fluid.”
- Keep gasoline locked up, and out of the reach of children.
- Use containers that have been listed, labeled or approved for gasoline.
- Fill gas-powered equipment when engines are cool.
- Siphon gasoline by mouth.
- Use gasoline near a flame source, such as burning leaves or brush.
- Induce vomiting if gasoline is swallowed.
- Use gasoline as a cleaning fluid or solvent.
- Store gasoline in the house.
- Dispense gasoline into a portable container while it is located inside the vehicle, or pick-up truck bed.
- 70% of campfire burns are caused by embers rather than flames.
- Fire pits retain heat up to 12 hours after being extinguished—hot enough to cause a severe burn.
- Humans cause nine of every ten wildfires. Make sure campfires are permitted in the area you are in.
- Build your fire at least 15 feet away from your tent, preferably downwind.
- Keep children at a safe distance with a “circle of safety” at least 4 feet from the fire edge.
- Have a small, manageable fire.
- Make sure you have water available before building the fire in case of emergency.
- Talk to children about campfire safety.
- Use an accelerant, such as gasoline, to start a fire.
- Leave a fire unattended—EVER!
- Throw anything other than wood into the fire.
- Build a fire if conditions are dry, or if forest fire danger is high.
- Bury a campfire to extinguish it, always use water.
- Assume the fire pit is safe when arriving at a campsite. Coals from previous campers may still be hot!
If you are burned:
- Stop the burning process immediately by rinsing with cool, clean water.
- Wrap the burned area with a dry clean towel.
- Seek medical attention immediately.
- Break blisters.
- Use butter on burns
- Put ice on a burn.
- Apply ointments to a severe burn.